Gearing up to 2.4%: AIRTO launches position statement at Palace of Westminster

On Monday 28 January 2019, AIRTO held a New Year Reception in the Palace of Westminster hosted by Heidi Allen, the Member of Parliament for South Cambridgeshire. We were delighted to be joined by our members, parliamentarians, representatives from government, industry and allied organisations to network and discuss the role of the UK’s Innovation, Research & Technology (IRT) sector in delivering the modern Industrial Strategy.

AIRTO released its latest position statement at the event, pinpointing actions for government to achieve successful growth of UK R&D:

AIRTO President, Professor Richard Brook OBE FREng noted: “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 The government shapes 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.”

Heidi Allen MP, who has a number of R&D intensive organisations in her constituency said, “Growing R&D is key to the government’s Industrial Strategy and building a Britain fit for the future”.

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.

Commenting on the IRT sector’s role on delivering the Industrial Strategy, AIRTO’s Chair & Chief Executive of the National Nuclear Laboratory, Dr Paul Howarth FReng, said “Our membership operates with industry throughout the UK, and internationally, and are important players in the ‘PLACE’ agenda.”


About 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.