Here’s exactly what the £2bn boost for UK R&D entails

More cash will be ploughed into research and development as a major part of the government’s industrial strategy. R&D spend will increase by an extra £2bn by 2020/21 to boost the UK’s home-grown innovative businesses and spur productivity. The injection of cash was first trailed by Prime Minister Theresa May during a speech at the CBI conference on 21st November 2016 M, where she signalled technology would form a fundamental part of the government’s new industrial strategy.

The cash increases government funding by 20% in this parliament.

What will the investment include?

  • Creating the UK’s very own DARPA [Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency]. An industrial strategy challenge fund will be created to foster collaboration between science, technology and business. It will be modelled on the US’s hugely successful 50-year-old DARPA programme which helped produce GPS technology and the early work which underpinned the invention of the internet. The areas which the fund will focus on will be decided in due course.
  • New research grants

Grant funding will increase “substantially”, the government said. This will come via Innovate UK and the newly created UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) which will bring together several different grant organisations under one body.

What else is the government promising for British research?

Tax incentives for R&D will be reviewed. Here’s exactly what the Autumn Statement said: To ensure the UK tax system is strongly pro-innovation, the government will review the tax environment for R&D to look at ways to build on the introduction of the ‘above the line’ R&D tax credit to make the UK an even more competitive place to do R&D.

Innovation audits

Further areas will be identified across the UK where top innovation is taking place. The goal is to identify areas ripe for support across the country to propel it globally. “Auditing the strengths in our regions will help us to build a long term strategy for global competitiveness and help ensure that hotspots generate more than the sum of their parts,” said former business secretary Sajid Javid earlier this year.