AIRTO discusses Industrial Strategy with BEIS Minister Richard Harrington MP

On Friday 12 October 2018, AIRTO met with Richard Harrington MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister of Business and Industry) at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and was delighted to discuss the role of the UK’s Innovation, Research & Technology (IRT) sector in delivering the modern Industrial Strategy. The round table discussion was held at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) near Coventry, and included representatives from NNL, Lucideon, TWI, BSRIA, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre, MTC, NPL.

The IRT sector employs 57,000 people and contributes £34 billion per annum to the UK economy. The sector has major role to play in helping to commercialise, and stimulate investment in, R&D to support the government achieve its goal of increasing R&D to 2.4% of GDP. In the past the government has acknowledged that our sector was “an under-used national asset” but with our increasing role in sector deals and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, that is changing. As BEIS shape their roadmap for the 2.4% goal, it is in the national interest to continue equipping and utilising this vital sector because it is a key part of the national capabilities for driving growth through industrial innovation.

IRT sector organisations provide trusted, safe and validated innovation to the market place via unique knowledge of the Academic, Industrial, Government and Financial sectors in the fields of science, technology and engineering, for the benefit of the UK economy and society. This sector expertise, combined with deep technological specialisation, puts IRT organisations in a unique position to coordinate, collaborate, catalyse actions, and also to act quickly with agility in the support of UK industry.

AIRTO’s membership, which makes up a major proportion of the UK’s IRT sector, operates with industry throughout the UK, and internationally, and are important players in the ‘PLACE’ agenda. Our members are often prominent players within their regions, acting as natural consolidation points bringing together local strengths in industry, academia. Many are active around the globe in exporting British innovation.















From left to right: Julia Evans (BSRIA); Tony Kinsella (Lucideon); Neil Rawlinson (MTC); Dick Elsy (HVM Catapult); Daniella Severino (NPL); Richard Harrington MP (BEIS); Paul Howarth (NNL, AIRTO Chair); Richard Deakin (BEIS); Steve Yianni (TWI/AIRTO); Jane Gate (AIRTO).



AIRTO is the Association of Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations. Its membership comprises approximately sixty of the principal organisations operating in the UK’s Innovation, Research and Technology (IRT) sector. The IRT sector has 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) and, for comparison, it is significantly larger than the network of Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany both in size and its scope of activities. The sector contributes £34Bn to UK GDP, but consumes 0.3% of government spend! AIRTO’s members work at the interface between academia and industry, for both private and public sector clients. Members include independent Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs), Catapult Centres, Public Sector Research Establishments, National Laboratories, some university Technology Transfer Offices and some privately held innovation companies.