Global relationships in research and innovation are more important than ever. Many of the world’s greatest economic and social challenges can be addressed only through international partnerships.

Furthermore, the UK Government is committed to raising total UK investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, and to 3% in the longer term. International partnerships and collaboration will play an important part in achieving these ambitions. In the UK, around half of all business investment in R&D comes from firms headquartered overseas. Academics from around the world come to the UK to pursue successful careers.

The UK Government is committed unequivocally to collaboration in research and innovation with partners across Europe and internationally. Government would like the option to associate to Horizon Europe and is continuing to shape the development of that programme. In parallel, it is also exploring credible and ambitious alternatives to deliver positive outcomes for science, research and innovation in the event that the UK does not associate.

Professor Sir Adrian Smith has been commissioned by the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation to provide independent advice on the design of future UK funding schemes for international collaboration, innovation and curiosity-driven blue-skies research. I will work with Sir Adrian during the preparation of this advice.

BEIS has published a call for written evidence with a deadline of 24 May 2019.

In partnership with other organisations, we will hold meetings across the UK to hear views from the research and innovation community. BEIS has published a call for written evidence with a deadline of 24 May 2019.

Sir Adrian’s advice will help the Government to ensure that the UK continues to be a global leader in science, research and innovation, and an attractive country for individuals to study and work. Furthermore, the advice will inform the upcoming Spending Review.

Written contributions on a wide of issues relating to potential funding schemes are welcome. Submissions of less than 2500 words in total would be particularly welcome. Submissions should be addressed to

Specific areas of interest are:

  • Methods by which new funding arrangements can:
    • support research discovery of outstanding quality in all disciplines through international partnerships;
    • attract to the UK researchers of outstanding capability from around the world; and
    • attract further R&D investment to the UK, thereby contributing to the Government’s 2.4% agenda.
  • The optimum balance of emphasis for any new funding arrangements in each of the following dimensions:
    • European collaboration, Overseas Development Assistance and global collaboration;
    • support for: outstanding individuals; blue-skies research; business innovation and research impact; and research facilities and infrastructure; and
    • research and innovation domains (research disciplines, business sectors etc).
  • Methods and timescales for introducing any new funding arrangements for international collaboration, including those that:
    • reflect the ambitions of small and large businesses;
    • foster new systems of international peer review and funding.
  • The roles of Government, UKRI, National Academies and other organisations in defining the agenda for European and international collaboration and administering any new funding arrangements for such activities.
  • Existing evidence on the efficiency and effectiveness of funding for international collaborations.
  • Any other issues relating to this work that you wish to bring to our attention.