The Launch of UK Research Innovation
In an ever-changing post-Brexit political landscape, the future of science and innovation policy is shifting to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of international research and development (R&D). Science, innovation, research and business development are all set to be impacted by huge policy changes in 2017 through to 2020 and beyond; these policies will affect not only the way we work but the future of the sector as a whole.
The May 2016 publication of the higher education and research white paper Success as a Knowledge Economy saw the announcement of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) body. Headed up in the interim by Sir John Kingman, this organisation will merge the seven research councils, Innovate UK and the research and knowledge exchange functions of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). With a combined budget of over £6 billion, the UKRI will be particularly focusing on multi- and inter-disciplinary research funding, including a portion of the £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund as well as £6.9 billion capital investment in new equipment before 2021.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said to www.gov.uk:
“I am delighted that John has agreed to take on this role. As someone who has overseen 5 spending reviews which prioritised science, John is uniquely placed to set up this new organisation and understand how best to maximise the value of our investment in research and innovation for the economy and society.
John will now be working closely with the research and innovation communities to shape the new organisation and oversee a competition to recruit a leading scientist as the first chief executive.” Read the full article here
The Autumn Statement
In light of the Autumn Statement the Government will invest an extra £2 billion a year, a total boost of £4.7 billion by 2020, making it the largest research and development investment in any parliament since 1979. This includes developing a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) for collaborative research between industry and academia particularly targeted at priority technologies (such as robotics and biotechnology). There will also be a broader boost to UK capacity in research and innovation, also referring to grant funding from Innovate UK. This includes £100 million until 2020 to extend and enhance biomedical catalyst.