AIRTO welcomes Sir Paul Nurse’s Review of the RDI organisational landscape

AIRTO welcomes Sir Paul Nurse’s Review of the Research, development and innovation (RDI) organisational landscape. This review examined the mix of UK organisations performing RDI, with recommendations to make the most of the UK’s research organisational landscape, ensuring it is effective, sustainable and responsive to global challenges. AIRTO submitted evidence to the review and also convened a roundtable discussion with Sir Paul during the consultation period.

AIRTO is welcoming the recommendations of the review which recognise the importance of Innovation, Research & Technology (IRT) sector organisations in the UK’s RDI ecosystem and its drive to attain science and technology superpower status. In addition, we are using the publication of the report as an opportunity to call for some of the components of a cohesive strategy which remain outstanding:

i. Ensuring that the UK plays a part in Horizon Europe: Our international standing as a Science and Technology Superpower – to be achieved by 2030 will be hampered if we lose ground in our relationships with key collaborators in EU member states.
ii. Further investment in the ecosystem for innovation: recapitalisation of our non-profit distributing RTOs is needed to lay the foundations for an ecosystem with living labs, test-beds and demonstrators that will be truly world-leading by 2035.
iii. Implementing a fully holistic approach to science and technology strategy: linking together all critical elements of the RDI ecosystem and the business environment, from identifying business needs through to discovery and promulgation of new science, whilst balancing a ‘technology push’ with a ‘market pull’ approach to innovation.
iv. Continued investment in people: developing the talent is critical to supply the skills for the RDI landscape organisational landscape over the coming decade.



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 scope of activities. The sector contributes £34Bn to UK GDP. AIRTO’s members work at the interface between academia and industry, for both private and public sector clients in the UK and overseas. Members cover a very wide range of industries from for example, agriculture and food, pharma and bio, energy generation and distribution, manufacturing and the built environment. Members include Independence Research and Technology Organisations, Catapult Centres, Public Research Establishments, National Laboratories, university Technology Transfer Offices and privately held innovation organisations.