AIRTO welcomes government’s £2 billion boost to research and innovation

AIRTO has recently called on government to increase investment in innovation

AIRTO (the Association for Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations) welcomes the additional £2 billion per annum (by 2020) real terms investment in research and development, and creation of an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund announced by the Prime Minister in her speech to the CBI Annual Conference today. In addition, AIRTO is pleased to learn that HM Treasury will be reviewing the R&D tax credit system, to ensure the UK is the go-to place for investors in innovation. Proposals regarding government procurement, SBRI and patient capital are also welcomed. The government’s intention to adopt a measured approach to developing the UK’s negotiating position for leaving the EU is likely to be well received by the research and innovation community.

AIRTO, has recently written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Business Secretary and the Science Minister in the run up to the Autumn Statement 2016, to call for increased investment in innovation. The AIRTO Board, which includes leaders of some of the UK’s major Innovation, Research and Technology sector organisations, have urged the government to create ‘an innovation eco-system and infrastructure that works for everyone’. Recognising that innovation is the bedrock for the UK’s future prosperity and success in free global markets, AIRTO has called for four key innovation priorities to be given precedence:

  • Placing innovation at the heart of industrial strategy.
  • Mitigating aspects of Brexit that risk constraining the UK’s capacity to innovate and grow business in global markets.
  • Investing in innovation skills development by creating a national innovation skills training initiative.
  • Strengthening the national innovation infrastructure by investing further in Innovate UK and capitalising non-profit distributing Research & Technology Organisations and Public Sector Research Establishments.

AIRTO is delighted to see that the government is adopting a fresh approach to creating a modern Industrial Strategy for the UK, with the ambition of enabling businesses to grow to deliver jobs and economic growth across the whole of the UK’s regions. Seeing the government signal an intention of ‘stepping up, not stepping back’ is a welcome change, and will position the UK to make the most of the historic opportunity to stimulate global partnerships as our relationship with the EU is transformed.

Read AIRTO’s letter to the government in full.

Read AIRTO’s representation to the Autumn Statement 2016.

Note to Editors

The UK’s thriving Innovation, Research and Technology (IRT) sector, of which AIRTO represents approximately 80%, continues to punch well above its weight in the national economy, as shown by an independent study commissioned by AIRTO and carried out by Oxford Economics in 2014. The IRT sector:

  • has tripled in size to £6.9Bn per annum since 2006
  • consumes just 0.3% of government spend
  • displays productivity 45% higher than the national average
  • generates a contribution of >£32bn to UK GDP (>2.3% of the total) and >£13Bn to UK tax revenue
  • supports 140,100 jobs – equivalent total employment of Milton Keynes
  • directly employs >57,000 highly skilled people, equal to total academic staff of the Russell Group, and considerably more than Germany’s Fraunhofers

The sustained growth of the IRT sector has the potential to significantly enhance UK productivity. Research suggests that every £1 spent in this area in recent years has generated, on average, £7 for the wider economy and that, more broadly, every £1 of public spending on R&D adds £4 to the value of market sector output.

For further information please contact:

Dr Jane Gate, Executive Director, AIRTO
Tel: +44 (0)20 8943 6354