AIRTO’s letter to Department of Education: Key-workers for the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic

AIRTO (the Association for Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations) has offered support to the Her Majesty’s Government’s Department of Education to help clarify which roles in the UK’s Innovation, Research & Technology sector ought to identified as ‘key workers’ during the current Covid 19 pandemic.

Our members are tremendously grateful to the Her Majesty’s Government for all the hard work it is doing to save lives during the Covid 19 pandemic. AIRTO recognises that the government is working under intense pressure to make the right decisions at pace for the whole country, and we are immensely thankful for all the hard work going into the national fight against this disease. AIRTO and its member laboratories are keen to support the government and our society during this time of unprecedented national challenge.

AIRTO represents the UK’s Innovation, Research & Technology (IRT) sector (encompassing Public Sector Research Establishments, PSREs, Catapult Centres and long-established Research & Technology Organisations, RTOs), which employs more than 57,000 highly skilled people and adds an estimated £34Bn of GVA per annum to the economy. Many of our member laboratories are involved in governmental and public service work which underpins the UK’s safety and security, through providing testing services and important, unique pieces of infrastructure which are critical to the continuation of business, health and daily life in UK. We understand that properly identifying the workers supporting these critical functions can be very difficult, because their roles may not be as immediately obvious as those in easily visible functions like the NHS or grocery stores. Some of our member organisations are concerned that there needs to be more clarity about which workers with children are identified as key workers entitling them where necessary to leave their children at school for the next 12 weeks.

Read more…AIRTO letter – Key workers for the UK during Covid 19 pandemic, March 2020


AIRTO is the representative body for the innovation sector in the UK. Its membership comprises sixty of the principle organisations operating in the UK’s Innovation, Research and Technology (IRT) Sector. The IRT sector has a combined turnover of £6.9 billion per annum, employing over 57,000 scientific and technical staff. The sector contributes £34 billion to UK GDP per annum. AIRTO’s Members interface with industry and academia, working for both private and public sector clients. Members include not-for-profit and private sector Research and Technology Organisations (including Catapult Centres), government laboratories and some university enterprise offices. Members are an essential part of the UK’s infrastructure for innovation, accelerating research outcomes and the exploitation of new products and services, and training significant numbers of staff at a wide range of educational levels.

For further information, please contact:

Dr Jane Gate, Executive Director: