After 20 years, the Government has announced that it is to discontinue the R&D Scoreboard, against the wishes of those in the British manufacturing industry.
The Scoreboard was launched in 1991 to give British companies a means to show how they compare to organisations and businesses around the world in terms of their investment domestically and internationally on R&D and innovation.
The Minister of State for Science and Innovation, David Willets, said: “While this useful tool has helped us to track progress on investment, both domestically and overseas, today’s companies better understand the importance of R&D to their long-term success.”
Mr Willets made it clear that the Government did not want to discourage other potential sponsors from coming forward to run the programme – one industry source wryly commented that the cut seemed to be the Government’s latest effort to create ‘The Big Society’. “We need a way of measuring the UK’s investment in innovation empirically, and this was the perfect means to do so,” they said to The Manufacturer.
A spokesperson for the aerospace, defence and security trade organisation A|D|S commented: “The R&D Scoreboard demonstrated the contribution made from each UK sector and this consistently showed how well our sectors in particular performed. With the view of “if you can’t measure it you can’t improve it” this appears to be a backwards step.”
With the DSEi exhibition fast approaching, many are arguing that the Government needs to remain committed to promoting the UK’s world-leading defence and aerospace industry as it has been in the past.