£22bn funding boost to place UK at the front of global innovation FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng leaves after a meeting of the cabinet at 10 Downing Street in London on February 11, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
THE UK launched an innovation strategy on Thursday (22) with annual public investment in R&D to a record £22 billion to put the country at the front of the global innovation.
The new strategy unveiled by business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng aims to boost private sector investment in R&D and to create the right conditions for all businesses to innovate, a statement said.
It will ensure government procurement is proactive and supportive, providing a route to market for innovative new products and services.
The government has also prioritised seven strategic technologies including clean technologies, robotics, genomics and AI to build on existing R&D strengths.
“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. The countries that secure leadership in such transformational technologies will lead the world, enjoying unrivalled growth, security and prosperity for decades to come – and it’s our job to ensure the UK keeps pace with the global innovation race,” said Kwarteng.
“Through this long-term plan, we want to rekindle our country’s flame of innovation and discovery, helping businesses to seize the vast opportunities that innovation can bring. If we get this right, we can build the foundations for the new industries of tomorrow, and ensure British firms are at the front of the pack to turn world-leading science into new products and services that are successful in international markets.”
The Innovate UK and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will be operational partners for this new strategy.
Besides, The government will work with universities and other research organisations, charities, Catapults, public sector research establishments and research and innovation institutes as part of the implementation of the strategy.
Five pioneering projects will receive a share of £127m through the Strength in Places Fund, delivered by UKRI.
In the North of England, £22.6m will help the advanced machinery & productivity initiative. In the Midlands, £18.3m is being awarded to the Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group to improve manufacturing processes in advanced ceramics.
In Scotland and Cumbria, £21.3m will be awarded to the Digital Dairy Value-Chain project. In Wales, the media.cymru project will bring together UK broadcasters, small local businesses and freelancers to research and develop new products and services for global markets. The project will receive £22.2m in funding.
In Northern Ireland, £42.4m will help the Smart Nano NI project to speed up the development of new nano-scale optical components to power our future digital devices.
According to the statement, the UK will specify ‘innovation missions’ to set clear direction, urgency and pace on the issues confronting the private sector. These will be determined by the new national science and technology council and supported by the office for science and technology strategy, it added.
Besides, £25m funding for the Connecting Capability Fund and £59m of industry, university and government investment have also been announced.