Government Minister, Chris Skidmore MP, has announced the commissioning of research into the future design of UK funding schemes for research.
Sir Adrian Smith, Chief Executive of the Alan Turing Institute, has been commissioned to provide independent advice on the design of UK funding schemes for international collaboration, innovation and curiosity-driven blue-skies research.
As part of the research, Sir Adrian has been asked to:
- advise on the design and delivery of elements of the potential alternatives to Horizon Europe association;
- consider how funding mechanisms, resources, and international partnerships can remain fit for purpose for our global ambition to support the international research and innovation strategy; and
- consider how international collaboration can best support the Government’s industrial strategy and 2.4% target.
In a Written Statement, Mr Skidmore has stated that collaboration with European and wider international partners is key to our strength in science and research, with a total of 16% of UK R&D investment financed from abroad. The Minister also stated that international partnerships will play an important part in helping to achieve the government’s ambition for the UK to remain a world-leading research nation with a globally connected research base.
In response to the announcement, Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO of TIGA said:
“TIGA welcomes the Government’s commitment to remaining a world leader in research and development. With the emerging capacity of non-OECD nations to compete for the global share in R&D, it is essential we have the funding streams to secure our place as a leader in the tech industries.
“However, UK expenditure on R&D lags behind many of our competitors. According to the latest ONS release, total R&D expenditure in the UK in 2017 represented 1.69% of GDP, ranking the UK 11th amongst EU countries. Despite this being an increase in UK spend by £1.6 billion on the previous year, it represents a decline in EU rankings from 2016 figures.
“The Government should bring forward its commitment to reach 2.4% of GDP invested in R&D to earlier than 2027. We should also benchmark UK investment in science and research against other OECD countries, in order to measure support for our knowledge economy.
“We await the outcome of Sir Adrian Smith’s research with great interest.”
The full written statement covering the details of the announcement can be found here.