Government expenditure on R&D lags behind international competitors

The Government is increasing public R&D spending by £7 billion by 2022. This is the largest increase on record. The latest ONS data estimates that overall gross R&D expenditure in the UK was £33.1bn in 2016, which was 1.7% of GDP in that year.[1]

However, UK expenditure on R&D lags behind many of our competitors.

  • The latest OECD international comparison of R&D expenditure ranked the UK 5th in the G7 and 10th among EU nations in 2016. [2]
  • According to data collected by the OECD[3], the average spend on R&D as a proportion of GDP across the G7 in 2016 was 2.23%.[4]
  • According to data collected by the OECD, the average spend on R&D as a proportion of GDP across OECD countries in 2016 was 2.34%.[5]

 

Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO, said:

“It is good news that the Government is increasing R&D expenditure.  R&D expenditure can result in new jobs, new businesses and new technologies.

“As well as the quantity of expenditure, the quality of R&D expenditure is crucially important. The Government should benchmark UK investment in science and research against other OECD countries, in order to support and grow our knowledge economy.

“It should be a priority for the UK Government to increase public investment in science, research and innovation, not least because there is a correlation between government investment and tax support for R&D, and the degree that business invests in R&D.[6]

 

 

[1] House of Commons, 8 February 2018, link;    House of Commons, 17 December 2018, link; See also: http://oe.cd/msti

[2] OECD, Main Science and Technology Indicators, July 2018, link

[3] For data collected by the OECD, Gross domestic spending on R&D is defined as the total expenditure (current and capital) on R&D carried out by all resident companies, research institutes, university and government laboratories, etc., in a country. It includes R&D funded from abroad, but excludes domestic funds for R&D performed outside the domestic economy.

[4] OECD, Research and Development, link.

[5] OECD, Research and Development, link.

[6] HM Government, Building our Industrial Strategy: Green Paper, January 2017, link.




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