The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma has set out new plans to cement the UK as the world’s leading research and science superpower. The Research and Development Roadmap, published on 1st July, addresses the need to boost business-led innovation activity and to further strengthen science, research and innovation across the UK, making it central to tackling the major challenges faced, and taking advantage of opportunities.
The government’s commitment to increasing UK investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and to increase public funding for R&D to £22 billion per year by 2024 to 2025 will support major strides being made towards this goal.
Through the R&D roadmap, the government will be testing in detail how the UK can:
- increase investment in research, unlocking new discoveries and applying research to solving the most pressing problems in government, industry and across society
- become world-class at securing the economic and social benefits from research
- support entrepreneurs and start-ups and increase the flow of capital into firms carrying out R&D enabling them to scale up
- attract, retain and develop the talented, diverse people and teams that are essential to delivering the vision
- take greater account of place-based outcomes in how the decisions on R&D in the UK are made, ensuring that R&D systems make their fullest contribution to the levelling up agenda
- provide long-term flexible investment into infrastructure and institutions
- be a partner of choice for other world-leading research and innovation nations, as well as strengthening R&D partnerships with emerging and developing countries
- engage in new and imaginative ways to ensure that science, research and innovation systems are responsive to the needs and aspirations of society
Research shows that the R&D carried out by private firms is influenced by a wide range of rules, systems and interactions, from the tax regime, to the intellectual property system and the networks of contacts and exchanges that promote the sharing of ideas. The government wants to ensure that these underpinning rules and systems support innovative companies of all sizes to establish themselves and grow in the UK. They also want to encourage businesses in all sectors to adopt new innovations and technologies and innovate themselves.
Over the coming months the proposals in the R&D Roadmap will be developed in a comprehensive R&D plan. The government believes this plan will only be effective if it is developed with people and organisations across the UK and therefore welcomes responses to high-level questions in an online survey which can be accessed here.
Where do R&D Tax Credits fit in to this?
The government wants to understand whether the tax system encourages innovation. For example, building on the announcement at Budget 2020 to increase the Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) rate and review the scope of qualifying costs for R&D tax reliefs, it plans to ensure that the regime reflects the changing reality of R&D and remains globally competitive.
Following the COVID-19 crisis, the R&D Roadmap proposes the plan to build a future which is greener, fairer, healthier, more resilient and more innovative than ever before.
View and download the R&D Roadmap document here.