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2 minute read

Call for greater investment in research & innovation in post-Brexit Britain

The UK’s National Academies have come together to call for the Government to send a bold, positive message to the nation and to the world that the country will remain a leading global destination for research and innovation post-Brexit.

In a statement released today the Royal Academy of Engineering, Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy and the Royal Society urge the Chancellor to show this commitment to fund, train, attract and retain the world’s brightest and best in next week’s Autumn Statement (23 November).

Together, the UK National Academies are asking for research and innovation to be put at the heart of the Government’s industrial strategy. In this time of change, the Academies urge the Government to build on the UK’s strengths as a nation of global researchers and innovators and focus on the three following priorities: 

• Create the workforce of the future, drawing on the world’s brightest and best and giving every UK citizen the opportunity to be part of this

• Cement the UK’s reputation as a destination to research, innovate and adopt new technologies, including setting a target of 3% of GDP for combined public and private R&D spending

• Capture the creativity and innovation underway in the UK to improve people’s lives

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering said: “The UK has much to be proud of with an excellent track record of research and entrepreneurship, but we need to send a message to the world that we are committed to building on our strengths to make Britain one of the best places in the world to research and innovate. The government’s industrial strategy must have research and innovation at its very heart, with regulation that supports and encourages the development of new technologies and processes.

“Increasing spending on research and development not only creates a more innovative society, it also sends a signal – the UK is committed to be a nation of innovators, and we need everyone, from first-time entrepreneurs to global investors, to have confidence in that commitment.”

Professor Dame Ann Dowling

Professor Dame Ann Dowling, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Research conducted by the UK National Academies indicates:

• 39% of UK firms have difficulties recruiting staff with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics
• 71% of SMEs agreed that future executives would need foreign language skills and international experience
• 65% of R&D in the UK is performed by business
• Firms that consistently invest in R&D are 13% more productive than firms that don’t invest in R&D
• 26% of UK R&D takes place in UK universities. 10% of their funding for this came from the EU in 2013/14
• For every £1 spent by the government on R&D, private sector R&D output rises by 20p per year in perpetuity, by raising the level of the UK knowledge base
• The UK ranks 4th out of university-industry research collaborations in the Global Innovation Index 2016


Infographic courtesy of Royal Academy of Engineering