The UK Government has today announced a new ‘Innovation Strategy’. This new plan to boost private sector investment is designed to make the UK a world leader in science, research and innovation.
The government claim that the experience of the pandemic has highlighted the importance of investment in science.
The plan will focus on supporting businesses and institutions in key areas. These include fuelling businesses who want to innovate, ensuring they have access to private and public investment, ensuring R&D institutions serve the needs of businesses, as well as stimulating innovation and technology missions that will provide the UK with a strategic advantage.
The government are planning to increase annual public investment on R&D to a record £22bn.
Taking lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, where the public and private sectors successfully worked together to produce the vaccine, the idea is to apply this new found knowledge to areas such as the R&D investment, skills and education and regulation.
A series of ‘innovation missions’ will set “clear direction and urgency” on the issues confronting the UK that could be aided by the private sector in the coming years.
The strategy will identify the areas where the UK has globally competitive R&D and industrial strength. These include: 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.
Nick Hussey, CEO of Hennik Research, said: “This is a welcome announcement and whilst we will need to check the detail it all looks very positive. I am particularly pleased to see the investment in advanced manufacturing, robotics and smart machines. I hope on this occasion the funding will find its way to the organisations and businesses that can actually make a difference within a reasonable time frame.”
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The UK can look back on a proud history of changing the world through innovation. From the industrial revolution to the vaccine development of the past year, the impact on our everyday lives is undeniable.
“That spirit of discovery is still alive in this country today, but we have not always turned our genius for innovation into jobs and companies here in Britain.”
A detailed strategy for levelling up through research and innovation will be set out as part of the government’s forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper which is due to be released later in the year.
For full information on the Innovation Strategy plan, view the government release here.