AIRTO welcomes government announcements on science and innovation

AIRTO – the Association for Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations – welcomes the recent government announcements that demonstrating a commitment to public investment in science and innovation. These announcements include:

Ahead of the statement by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, in Parliament on 22 November,  AIRTO put forward representation to the His Majesty’s Treasury calling for growth powered by innovation, highlighting the key policy interventions needed. Within this representation, AIRTO has made recommendations for a clear, consistent, innovation-led strategy to boost growth, address immediate economic and societal challenges, and build a strong, energy-secure Net Zero economy. These recommendations are summarised as follows:

Achieve short and medium-term growth through targeted R&D: Maintain current commitments to public funding of research, development and innovation.
Ensure sustained long-term investment in R&D: By 2030, advance beyond 3% for Gross Expenditure (public and private) on R&D as a percentage of GDP to sit in the top quartile of OECD nations.
Make closer-to-market innovation across the UK more central to the Innovation Strategy and achieving lasting economic growth: Re-balance public funding for R&D and innovation (RDI) to provide more support for closer-to-market innovation infrastructure (e.g., demonstrators) for key sectors and industries, to help reduce the cost and time to translate technologies to market.
Instilling confidence for industry in the UK’s resilience and consistency: Give industry confidence to make critical research and development investment in the UK by committing to clear, consistent, and ambitious long-term government policies. This includes bolstering specific commitments to RDI aimed at advancing the UK’s path to Net Zero, signalling its commitment to addressing the climate crisis.
Building on world-leading existing capabilities: Invest in the innovation ecosystem by creating a recapitalisation fund of £100m pa for non-profit distributing innovation, research and technology (IRT) organisations.
Prioritise people and skills: Develop a comprehensive ‘workforce plan’ for RDI in the UK, encompassing education and skills, and involving the key players from industry, the IRT sector, and academia.

Read the full submission here.


AIRTO is the Association of Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations. Its membership comprises approximately sixty of the principal organisations operating in the UK’s extensive Innovation, Research and Technology (IRT) sector. The IRT sector has a combined turnover of £6.9Bn, employing over 57,000 scientific and technical staff and contributes an estimated £34Bn to UK GDP.

Organisations in this critical sector work with industry, government and academia to promote and implement innovation, and provide technical solutions to challenges and crises for both private and public sector clients in the UK and overseas. Our members cover a very wide range of industries from, for example, agriculture and food, pharma and bio, energy generation and distribution, to manufacturing and the built environment. AIRTO’s members include Independent Research and Technology Organisations, Catapult Centres, Public Research Establishments, National Laboratories, and privately held innovation organisations.

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