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NEWS: Boris Johnson to propel UK into Research & Development ‘science superpower’

Posted on October 4, 2021

By 2025, the UK Government plans to increase research spending from £15bn a year to £22bn propelling the UK to be a scientific leader by introducing a new Research and Development framework plan. Tackling societal challenges such as climate change and curing cancer through scientific and technological breakthroughs is at the forefront of their plans. 

The UK is also aiming to reach net-zero by 2025, and to achieve this, investment in scientific and technological research is imperative. Finding new ways to progress in the manufacturing of hydrogen, power storage, cleaner aviation and other more sustainable options for the UK will also be at the forefront of the P.M’s plans, swapping out fossil fuels for solar and wind alternatives and bioenergy, carbon capturing and general behavioral changes. 

The Innovative Vision

Just 50 miles west of Central London, in the picturesque countryside is the Harwell Campus, a 700-acre campus and a distinctive symbolism of the Prime Minister’s ambitions for the UK’s scientific future has it’s home. The campus has seen an investment of approximately £3 billion from both public and private sectors, in the hope to be the driving force for space, clean energy, quantum computing, and life sciences research and development. The Harwell Campus has recently been updated with a UK Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre which is backed by £196 million of government funding, driving growth of the UK vaccine industry.

“We’re restoring Britain’s place as a scientific superpower” – Boris Johnson

Coronavirus and Innovation

The 23rd of March, 2020 will be etched into British History for years to come. The pandemic took millions of lives, closed down businesses, closed our borders, and turned our homes into classrooms, gyms, and even offices; where dressing from the waist up was a normal procedure. Innovating after such a disruptive period has been a challenge for many, but with it being reported that for every £1 spent on Research and Development delivering £7 in economic and social benefit, it is particularly important to drive economic growth. 

The P.M stated that the UK’s scientists deserve praise for their hard work through the pandemic and that if it were not for them we would not be able to enjoy basic human interactions such as hugging family and friends, playing sports and going to the pub without the risk of spreading a detrimental disease. The UK has failed for decades to invest enough money into scientific research, although it has plenty of academic institutions, data resources, capital markets and innovative culture. 

How does Research and Development affect economic growth?

The UK becoming an R&D science superpower will result in the strengthening of skills and expertise,  therefore attracting new talent into business and academia from around the globe, to increase employment, productivity and tax returns but also fuelling foreign investment. 

It would also help to solve global security threats by providing the technologies that would resolve malicious threats and resolve conflict,  and climate threats by joining Government research efforts and deploying sustainable growth investment across the nation, therefore, producing more capital. 

Innovation Funding

Long-term strategic solutions take time and money, which is why the Research & Development Tax Credit scheme has a very important role to play in the UK’s journey to becoming an R&D science superpower. From April 2021, a new R&D SME PAYE cap came into place in the effort to force out fraudulent claims. It limits the payable R&D Tax Credits to £20,000, and reviews were made to both the SME scheme (for smaller businesses) and RDEC scheme (for larger businesses) to ensure that they are well-targeted and incentivizing within the right areas. By incentivizing the UK’s most innovative business with the Research and Development Grant Funding, the UK could well be on its way to get to it’s R&D goal in 2025. 

To find out more about Research & Development Tax Credits, click here.