The Chancellor today unveiled a selection of measures that will be of interest to National Centre members at his Budget speech – including funding to support innovation activity.

The National Centre is encouraged by the commitment to uplift and extend the National Productivity Investment Fund by £2.3bn through 2021-22, taking total direct R&D spending to £12.5bn per annum by 2021-22. We look forward to the additional detail promised in the Industrial Strategy white paper, set to be launched on Monday 27th November, on how this additional funding will benefit sectoral specialisms such as creative and digital – and indeed to the vision the white paper promises to set out. Similarly, the increase in R&D expenditure tax credit is welcome.

The long-term support for science and innovation these interventions imply will help to increase confidence amongst the uncertainties created by Brexit and help our innovative companies and researchers focus on the world-leading outputs that will drive productivity and growth.

The announcement of a new £2.5bn investment fund, seeded into the British Business Bank and tied to private co-investment, should also help to deliver on the aim of unlocking patient capital for innovative firms. Commitments to ensure that talented international researchers continue to regard the UK as a welcoming place are also very welcome.

More broadly, we endorse the stated ambition to increase investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 which underpins this announcement – and indeed echo calls to exceed this target. The National Centre’s digital programmes and projects support the university-business collaborations that drive growth and productivity across the nation and we look forward to exploring how best we can work with the measures announced in this Budget, and the forthcoming Industrial Strategy, in pursuit of this goal.





National Centre for Universities and Business

Inspiring universities and business to work together for sustainable growth and prosperity.

As a membership not-for-profit organisation, the National Centre brings together leaders from across higher education and business to tackle issues of shared interest.

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Shivaun Meehan