Invitation to tender: Economic impact of the UK’s Innovation, Research & Technology sector

The UK’s Innovation, Research and Technology (IRT) sector operates at the interface between academia and industry, for both private and public sector clients to apply scientific progress and capabilities into new products and services. This sector includes independent Research and Technology Organisations, Catapult Centres, Public Sector Research Establishments, National Laboratories, some university Technology Transfer Offices and some privately held innovation companies, all working across a wide range of industries helping both large and small companies to accelerates their growth, boosting the UK’s international competitiveness and anchoring high value R&D dependent sectors in the UK.

The value of this activity was identified and documented in a 2014 report commissioned by AIRTO (the Association of Independent Research and Technology Organisations) and undertaken by Oxford Economics. In 2014 the sector was shown to have a combined turnover of £6.9Bn, employing over 57,000 scientific and technical staff (equivalent to the academic staffing of the Russell Group of universities) – significantly larger than the network of Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany both in size and its scope of activities. The sector contributed £34Bn to UK GDP per annum.

In the past few years, the landscape for R&D in the UK is transforming. The government has set an ambition for the UK to become the most innovative country in the world! The government has announced a new Industrial Strategy, which puts innovation at the heart of creating a Britain that works for everyone, bring skills and job opportunities to all regions of the UK, whilst addressing some of the biggest ‘Grand Challenges’ facing our society: artificial intelligence and the data economy; clean growth; the future of mobility; meeting the needs of an ageing society. Alongside considering how best to tackle these challenges, the government is planning for our changing relationship with the EU and the rest of the world, and in doing so the UK’s national investment in R&D has been placed under the microscope! As a result the government has set a goal for ensuring that the UK achieves 2.4% of GDP to be invested in R&D by 2027 – an uplift from the current level of 1.7% – to ensure that the UK continues to compete as a world leader in research and innovation. To deliver these new ambitions, and to achieve a joined up strategy for delivering our investment in R&D across all disciplines, the government has launched UKRI (UK Research and Innovation), whose mission is to ensure that world-leading research and innovation continues to grow and flourish in the UK by supporting and helping to connect the best researchers and businesses, and investing public funds to generate outcomes and ultimately impact for citizens, in the UK and across the world. UKRI’s role is to ensure that the UK continues to provide the best environment for research and innovation.

Against this fast changing environment, AIRTO is now seeking to commission a fresh study to undertake economic and quantitative analysis, building upon the previous 2014 report, to produce identify the contribution and impact of IRT sector on UK plc. and identify the practical ways in which this sector can partner with the government, academia and industry to help deliver the Industrial Strategy, the Grand Challenges identified by government and stimulate investment in R&D upwards towards the goal of 2.4% of GDP.

This study will demonstrate clear thought leadership and provide insights that help shape national strategy and inform decisions by policy makers – especially those working in HM Treasury, Department for Business, Energy, Innovation & Skills (BEIS), UKRI and the Department for International Trade – by showing the value, capabilities and opportunities presented by the UK’s IRT sector. The study will need to draw conclusions and propose recommendations on what the government could do to make better use of the IRT sector e.g. on commercialisation of research outputs, on grand challenges, and on provision of training opportunities.

The study will apply research methodologies, economic analysis and an evidence-based approach that is widely recognised to be robust and valid by government and industry alike.

The service provider needs to be experienced and recognised for expertise and leadership in undertaking economic studies and proficient in economic modelling which can take account of the impact of large and small organisations across a range of industrial sectors and science and technology areas.

The submission deadline is 5pm on Tuesday 20th November 2018.

Specification for Study – Economic impact of the IRT sector

Further details and a copy of the full specification are available from Dr Jane Gate at AIRTO:
+44 (0)208 943 6354