AIRTO welcomes government’s Green Paper on the Industrial Strategy

AIRTO has recently welcomed government’s intention to increase investment in innovation

AIRTO (the Association for Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations) welcomes the government’s Green Paper on the Industrial Strategy, and is now consulting with its members to respond on behalf of the UK’s Innovation, Research & Technology (IRT) sector. Building on the positive announcement in the Autumn Statement 2016 of an additional £4.7bn investment in R&D by 2020-21, we welcome that the government is setting out its vision for a modern Industrial Strategy and the early actions it has committed to take, around skills, research and infrastructure to drive long term growth in productivity. AIRTO considers that these are essential priorities for investment, if the UK is to thrive as a leading global nation for innovation after Brexit.

We are delighted to see that leveraging the UK’s strengths in science, research and particularly innovation is at the heart of the Industrial Strategy. The government is recognising that research and innovation leads to new products, services and better ways of doing business; these are key to economic growth and UK competitiveness. The nation’s existing network of IRT sector organisations – which directly employ >57,000 highly skilled people, (equal to total academic staff of the Russell Group, and considerably more than Germany’s Fraunhofers), generate a contribution of >£32bn to UK GDP and >£13bn to UK tax revenue, and display productivity at 45% higher than the national average (1) – is a major asset for the government to leverage and deploy as it delivers on strategy.

AIRTO’s members – which comprise 80% of the IRT sector (1) – span virtually every key technology sector in the UK from aerospace and automotive, to energy and agri-food; they also provide a diverse regional presence, and in the coming months we will be working specifically to identify common themes and opportunities for science, research and innovation across the strategies being developed for individual industry sectors.

The AIRTO community is committed to working with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and UKRI partners, as well as with other departments of government, to achieve a positive outcome in the climate for innovation and in opportunities to develop talent, stimulate prosperity, enhance quality of life and make the UK a world-leader in innovation post-Brexit.

We welcome discussion with those involved in development of individual industry sector strategies incorporating a strong technology and/or innovation focus. Please contact us.

Reference: 1. The Impact of the Innovation, Research and Technology Sector on the UK Economy, Oxford Economics, 2014

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 and discussion please contact:

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