The UK Government has announced a new Innovation Strategy, setting a long-term plan for delivering innovation-led growth. It aims to secure the UK’s position as a world leader in science, research and innovation by boosting private sector investment in R&D and creating the right conditions for all businesses to innovate.

But what does that mean in practice?

Firstly, the government will identify a series of ‘innovation missions’ to set clear direction, urgency and pace on some of the largest challenges facing the world today. These will be determined by the new National Science and Technology Council and supported by the Office for Science and Technology Strategy.

The strategy also identifies seven strategic technologies to prioritise and build on existing R&D strength: Advanced Materials and Manufacturing; AI, Digital and Advanced Computing; Bioinformatics and Genomics; Engineering Biology; Electronics, Photonics and Quantum; Energy and Environment Technologies; Robotics and Smart Machines.

Significantly, the strategy outlines four main areas of support for innovative businesses and institutions:

  1. Unleashing Business
  2. People
  3. Institutions and Places
  4. Missions and Technologies
They include the following measures:
  • Increase annual public investment in R&D to a record £22 billion
  • Ensure government procurement is both proactive and supportive, providing a route to market for innovative new products and services
  • Consult on how regulation can ensure that the UK is well-placed to extract the best value from innovation
  • Commission the Regulatory Horizons Council to consider how best to support innovation through regulation
  • Introduce new High Potential Individual and Scale-up visa routes, as well as revitalise the Innovator route, to attract and retain high-skilled, globally mobile innovation talent
  • Undertake an independent review to assess the landscape of UK organisations undertaking all forms of research, development and innovation
  • Reduce complexity for innovative companies by developing an online finance and innovation hub between Innovate UK and the British Business Bank
  • Expand IP education programme for researchers and launch International IP Services
  • Publish a new action plan on ‘Standards for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, therefore promoting standards that enable innovation to flourish
  • Invest £200 million through the British Business Bank’s Life Sciences Investment Programme in order to target the growth-stage funding gap
  • Support 30,000 senior managers of small and medium-sized businesses through Help to Grow: Management to boost their business’s performance, resilience, and long-term growth

We look forward to seeing the impact of the Innovation Strategy in the coming months. Where grant funding opportunities arise, we will of course highlight them on our blog and in our monthly newsletter.

Source: UK Government