The Government must develop an Industrial Strategy that has research and development (R&D) as its engine, according to senior business and university leaders in a new Taskforce report published today.

The R&D Taskforce convened senior leaders from industry and academia including the Chairs of BT, Rolls Royce, GSK and Orsted as well as the Presidents of both the CBI and Universities UK and Vice Chancellors from across the UK.

In the Taskforce’s report, ‘Research to Recovery: Delivering an R&D-driven Industrial Strategy’, businesses and universities set out a collective vision for a future driven by collaboration through research and development.

The report recommendations include:

  • A refresh of the Industrial Strategy that places research and innovation as its engine. By backing businesses innovation, the Government will help create a more resilient, competitive and productive economy.
  • The establishment of a network of ‘Innovation Collaboration Zones’ across the UK to aid the levelling up agenda. The Government, with UK Research and Innovation , should create simpler mechanisms to support businesses to innovate, and to galvanise industry and academia;
  • The creation of a Global Collaboration Fund to encourage universities and businesses to pool their strengths to attract inward investment, attracting investment from businesses in the UK and overseas.
  • A widened remit of the Office for Talent to help grow and deliver domestic talent, alongside attracting global talent. A coordinated, cross-cutting approach needs to be taken to develop, upskill, retain and retrain domestic talent;

Sam Laidlaw, Chair of NCUB and the R&D Taskforce said: “The Government has rightly acknowledged that research and development is paramount in the nation’s recovery from Covid-19. We rely on research to understand how Covid-19 is transmitted, for potential treatments and vaccines. The UK’s research base is also key to meeting the decarbonisation goal and keeping the UK competitive in global markets. It is therefore crucial that Government, universities and business collectively act on the report’s recommendations to build a more resilient, productive and innovative economy.”