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expert reaction to UK Government announcement to increase R&D budget

The UK government have announced that they will work with industry to boost spending on R&D to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027.


Sir David Baulcombe, President of the Biochemical Society, said:

“We welcome the government’s commitment to supporting R&D, which will help keep post-Brexit Britain at the cutting edge of science and technology.

Developing the country’s industrial strategy will be crucial in supporting the future of molecular bioscience in the UK, helping to fund vital research in areas such as health and disease and big data as well as to support a future pipeline of highly skilled scientists and technicians.

The Society looks forward to the launch of next week’s Industrial Strategy White Paper. We will continue to work closely with our sister societies and others across STEM to represent our community.”


Dr Mark Downs FRSB, chief executive of the Royal Society of Biology:

“We welcome the Government’s signal of support for a successful and vibrant sector in need of investment to grow and deliver its full potential to the UK.

“We also welcome the clear acknowledgement from the Secretary of State that as well as nurturing talent here we must be able to attract international talent in order to thrive. Creating the conditions for this are essential if monetary investment is to deliver returns.”


Prof Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, says:

“I welcome today’s announcement of increased funding for research and development. The engineering profession has called for this investment for some time, along with the other UK National Academies. It is crucial to achieve an investment target of 2.4% GDP in R&D, drawn from both public and private sectors, and to break down the silos between industry sectors to enable innovation and collaboration between academia and industry on emerging technologies.

“Engineering is a vital part of our economy, contributing over 20% of gross value added and accounting for half our exports. Public investment in R&D leverages private investment, which we must then translate into productive businesses. This will increase our competitiveness on the world stage, sending out a signal that the UK aims to be the best in the world, whilst also benefiting regions within the UK.

Next week’s Industrial Strategy white paper will mark a key stage in the development of a transformative strategy to ensure the prosperity of the UK economy. This will set the terms for a long-term commitment to stimulate and retain industrial investment from within the UK and abroad. The engineering profession stands ready to support the delivery of a modern industrial strategy that works for the whole of the UK.”


Dr Sarah Main, Executive Director of CaSE, said:

“We seem to have turned a corner. Government is matching its long-term ambition with concrete investment. It will be critical to ensure this funding and future increments are spent well so that they deliver competitive edge for the UK and prosperity and wellbeing for society. This includes growing support for tried and tested research funding mechanisms, not only for new initiatives; specific and effective mechanisms to attract private investment of globally-mobile R&D budgets; and creating a competitive UK economy with a healthy research base and immigration and regulation systems that support international R&D.”


Prof Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said: 

“The industrial strategy, due to be announced next week, is an opportunity for the UK to really start capitalising on our strength in research and innovation.  Today’s announcement of an additional £2.3billion investment in 2021/22 is a welcome step towards building long term, sustainable growth through a knowledge based economy.”


Mr Hetan Shah, Executive Director, The Royal Statistical Society (RSS), said:

We are pleased to see the Prime Minister’s personal commitment to science, research and development; and in particular her focus on the opportunities emerging from big data and artificial intelligence.”


Prof Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), said:

“I am delighted that the Government has set this ambitious target to increase both public and private R&D spending. Only by taking bold steps like this can we make sure that the UK maintains its world leading status in research and innovation.

“Meeting this commitment will require a concerted effort. UK Research and Innovation is already developing ideas as part of the industrial strategy to make sure these investments have the greatest possible impact. We will continue to work with Government, industry and academia to make this goal a reality, helping to drive up productivity and improve living standards.”




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