Raising R&D Investment
- Published: Wednesday, 28 November 2018 12:10
- Written by National Centre for Universities and Business
Leveraging university-business collaboration to raise total R&D investment in the UK to 2.4% of GDP
The Government pledged to increase research and development investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, in line with the OECD average, in their 2017 manifesto.
They embedded this commitment in the UK’s Industrial Strategy – designed to boost productivity and growth throughout the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.
The Government is committed to increasing investment in R&D to position the UK as the world’s most innovative economy. About 65% of R&D investment in the UK comes from the private sector with about half of that amount coming from firms headquartered overseas. The Government will only meet its commitment if there is a major increase in business investment in the UK. Historical patterns suggest strong partnerships between universities and businesses are a significant factor in attracting that investment.
During the autumn of 2018 the National Centre for Universities and Business convened a series of roundtables to develop well-informed advice to Government on the delivery of its commitment to raise total R&D investment in the UK to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.
- Practical options for growing R&D investment in the UK by some 50% over the next nine years, taking us to the Government’s commitment of 2.4% of GDP;
- Whether the current balance between public and private investment (around 1/3 public and 2/3 private) should remain under a higher overall level of investment;
- Whether the current balance of public funding between academic research and business innovation should remain under a higher overall level of investment;
- Implications of the higher level of investment for career development and recruitment in the research community.
Key conclusions from these discussions were submitted to Government and UKRI, including:
- The UK is stronger at research commercialisation than the prevailing narrative from Government would suggest;
- Continued access to global investment and talent pools is critical;
- Place-based elements of R&D should be explored further if persistent disparities in regional economic performance are to be addressed;
- More risk capital – perhaps following the Treasury’s Patient Capital Review – is needed to accelerate R&D investment; and
- Outcome-focused interventions such as QR funding and its equivalents in Devolved Administrations will give rise to more creative solutions and partnerships.
Blogs by NCUB CEO Dr Joe Marshall:
Blogs by Professor Graeme Reid, Strategic Adviser to NCUB:
- Choppy waters or plain sailing for 2019?
- Sun, sea and R&D – what has science ever done for me?
- The government has promised more R&D. Where will the money come from?
- The political will is there – what are the next steps for increasing investment in UK R&D?
Blog by Dr Emma Baxter, UCL Public Policy: Making sense of data and politics on research impact
Blog by Andrew Basu-McGowan, Policy Lead for Innovation and Place at NCUB: Smart Specialisation Hub Conference: place-based innovation on the agenda
If you would like to share your opinions and experiences on this subject, please get in touch.