It’s good to see that research and development funding is in pole position in the UK Government's new Industrial Strategy published 27 November 2017.
The government had already indicated in the November UK Budget 2017 that research and development investment is at the heart of achieving increased productivity - they described their vision as - “An economy driven by innovation that will see the UK becoming a world leader in new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), immersive technology, driverless cars, life sciences, and FinTech” (Source: November UK Budget 2017).
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This commitment is not just cosmetic as there will be significant increases in R&D spend over the coming years. Innovate UK will get more funding as will the newly established UKRI. “UK Research and Innovation will bring together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England” (Source UKRI).
There is also an uplift in the “Research and Development Expenditure Credit – The government will increase the rate of the RDEC from 11% to 12% with effect from 1 January 2018” (Source: November UK Budget 2017). The SME R&D scheme remains in place providing generous support for any Small or Medium Enterprise that is investing in R&D.
“The government will provide a further £1 million to extend the UK Games Fund until 2020, aiding access to finance and business support for early stage video game developers” (Source: November UK Budget 2017)
Plus there are plans to establish “a new £2.5 billion Investment Fund incubated in the British Business Bank with the intention to float or sell once it has established a track record” (Source: November UK Budget 2017)
A £50m Innovation Loans Scheme had already been announced prior to the publication of the strategy - it is to run for two years as a pilot.
The extra R&D funding and new schemes set out in the Government’s Industrial Strategy is good news for the already buoyant UK technology sector, so I watch with interest to see what impact this additional funding will have in 2018.
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