AIRTO representation to Comprehensive Spending Review calls for >£1bn boost for innovation sector

AIRTO is fully committed to supporting the UK government in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, and the development of the UK as a Science and Innovation Superpower. Continued commitment to the ambition of reaching 2.4% of GDP for investment in R&D by 2027, and the government’s associated financial support, are both crucial if the UK is to fully exploit the knowledge reservoir resulting from its world-leading science base, for the economic and societal benefit of the country.

A key action for government will be to balance the public investment in applied R&D and innovation, with the support already given to the academic early-stage and discovery research sector. The increased levels of public funding which have been announced will allow this investment to happen without reducing resource allocation of the UK’s world-leading universities. The target for this scaling-up of funding must be organisations that exploit and apply knowledge and innovation in practice to ensure that overall UK returns and value for public money can be obtained. The majority of the newly available investment must be deployed to benefit industry itself, e.g. via investing in organisations which support industry from the Innovation, Research & Technology (IRT) sector.

In its representation to the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), AIRTO is proposing a number of specific initiatives aimed at building capacity and extended capabilities within the IRT sector as an integral part of the actions needed to reach the ‘2.4%’ R&D target and to reap maximum value from the expenditure of public money, including:
• technical support for SMEs,
• capitalisation of the IRT sector,
• expanded generic applied research programmes,
• new innovation skills development.

Read the full representation from AIRTO to the CSR September 2020.

These initiatives will support the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis in the short- and medium-term, and the longer-term development of the UK as a Science and Innovation Superpower, with the ensuing benefits for the country’s productivity and prosperity.

The total investment into for the proposals put forward for the CSR is £1.06-1.16bn over five years, and will support an expansion in the IRT sector, such that it can build capacity to meet the needs of existing and new business and move towards growth, doubling its total annual turnover from around £7bn to £14bn and its contribution to the UK economy from £34bn to £68bn. The IRT sector will then be able to play its full role in the Science and Innovation Superpower. AIRTO is ready to support the government in the planning and co-ordination of the any or all of the initiatives it is proposing in this representation.