Government Launches Research Policy Roadmap
The Government has released a roadmap policy paper on Research and Development which sets out the UK’s vision for science, research and innovation. The last Budget allocated a rise in investment in R&D to £22 billion by 2024 to 2025. The UK Government has long-term objectives in this area such as delivering economic growth through R&D and societal benefits that will affect the entire UK, becoming a global science superpower and to build the foundations of new, future industries. The roadmap comes as Government arranges its priorities for investment and restructuring in an effort to build up and sustain economic and innovative progress during and after the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
The British R&D sector has had many successes up until now in driving innovation and industry. UK research led to the discovery of graphene, steam engines and the decoding of DNA structure. The UK is the top European destination for venture capital, and a talented, educated workforce attracts employers internationally. Research and development will be critical to economic and social recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, enabling us to build a greener, healthier and more resilient UK. The roadmap concentrates on securing economic and social benefits from research, increasing flow of capital into firms, attracting and retaining more talented workers and strengthening R&D partnerships with countries across the world (developed and developing alike). The document directly addresses failings in the R&D sector such as a low investment rate by the UK Government compared with other countries, evidence of an unhealthy work culture (harassment and discrimination) and regional imbalances.
The roadmap allows for the discussion of strengths and challenges for the R&D sector, issues that need to be addressed, and how Government will work with businesses, universities and the third sector to secure the UK’s influential position on the global R&D stage. An online survey has been issued along with the publication of the roadmap, it welcomes contributions from people in the industry or public towards the fine-tuning and further elaboration of the roadmap plan. Going forward, a series of Ministerial chaired meetings over the next two months will be held to hear from a range of stakeholders from across the UK. Structures will be established with the devolved administrations to implement the plan, i.e. via the R&D Place Advisory Group, the Innovation Expert Group and new mechanisms for prioritising our infrastructure investments.