New Innovation Strategy – can it help your business?

24th September 2021

The government has launched a new ‘Innovation Strategy’, which it says is to boost private sector investment in R&D across the UK.

The UK Innovation Strategy was discussed in the March Budget and the government believes it will help to create the right conditions for businesses to turn technical and scientific innovations into new products and services.

In its announcement, the government confirmed its commitment to increasing annual public investment in R&D to £22 billion. But it says it recognises that the private sector plays a key role in boosting spending on R&D.

Innovation Strategy is part of the government’s Plan For Growth

The Innovation Strategy is a key pillar in the government’s ‘Build Back Better – Plan For Growth’, and, it says, will cement the UK’s position as a world-leader in R&D, science and innovation. It uses the example of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, where the public and private sectors successfully worked alongside each other to create solutions to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government will specify ‘innovation missions’ to set clear direction and pace on the issues confronting the UK that need to be tackled with the private sector in the coming years. These will be determined by the new National Science and Technology Council and supported by the Office for Science and Technology Strategy.

7 strategic technologies to prioritise

The government has outlined 7 strategic technologies to prioritise and build on existing R&D strengths:

1. Engineering Biology
2. Electronics, Photonics and Quantum
3. Energy and Environment Technologies
4. Robotics and Smart Machines
5. Bioinformatics and Genomics
6. Advanced materials and Manufacturing
7. AI, Digital and Advanced Computing

How does the government plan to execute the Innovation Strategy?

Here are the details we know so far:

• The government says it will reduce complexity for innovative companies by developing an online finance and innovation hub between Innovate UK and the British Business Bank within the next year.
• It will introduce new High Potential Individual and Scale-up visa routes, and revitalise the Innovator route to attract and retain high-skilled, globally mobile innovation talent.
• It will also work with universities and other research organisations, charities, Catapults, public sector research establishments and research and innovation institutes to implement the Strategy.

The detailed plan for ‘levelling up’ through research and innovation will be set out as part of the government’s forthcoming ‘Levelling Up White Paper’.

The results of this Innovation Strategy will also depend, of course, on the amount of funding being offered to innovative businesses … so, while industry bodies have welcomed the new initiative, they wait to see, like us, the detail. And the spending commitment …

As small business advisers and chartered accountants, if we can help you with matters relating to R&D please contact us


Sharmini Woodings

Managing Partner

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