The results of the UK Innovation Survey, published in full today, are cause for concern: there has been a 18.8% drop in the number of businesses being process innovators. The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) is calling on businesses to prioritise innovation activities to drive help the nation’s economic recovery.

Commenting on the UK Innovation Survey, published today, Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of the NCUB, said: “ The Government has rightly acknowledged in their recent R&D roadmap that the UK will need to be more creative and innovative to adapt to the ‘new normal’, and to recover from Covid-19. The results published today in the UK Innovation Survey are therefore cause for real concern and will sound alarm bells for the Government’s post-Covid recovery plan. This latest data shows that the percentage of UK businesses engaging in all forms of innovation has fallen off a cliff since 2016. Indeed from 2014-16 to 2016-18, there was a staggering 18.8% drop in the number of businesses being process innovators from 16% to 13%. Innovation is a key driver of growth and it will need to play an essential role in the nation’s economic recovery, now more than ever before. In no uncertain terms, if the UK is to bounce back and begin to flourish again, we need to see an increase in innovation from our businesses.”

Marshall continued: “We know that in times of political uncertainty, businesses are forced to deprioritise innovation, and many will wait until there is more clarity before investing in areas with speculative return. The EU referendum for example, is listed as a key barrier to innovation in the survey results today. Looking ahead, what’s even more worrying still is that this data was gathered before the Covid-19 crisis. We are currently living in period of uncertainty, greater than any other era in peacetime, and this is bound to have an impact on innovation activity, particularly in those business sectors most adversely affected. The Government has recognised that business-led innovation will be critical to our recovery and so we need to translate these aspirations into a bold and ambitious delivery plan. The government must work closely with businesses to set the right conditions to support and enable innovation. Act now before it is too late, and the next UK Innovation Survey might paint a brighter picture.”