GRANT FUNDING FOR R&D 2016-2020
Research and Development funding opportunities following the Autumn Statement. We have analysed the impact of the 2016 Autumn Statement on businesses in the UK, specifically with regard to R&D grant funding.
Ambitious government strategy for Research and Development
In this year’s Autumn Statement, Prime Minister Theresa May outlined the first steps in a new and ambitious Industrial Strategy which will build on the UK’s strengths and get the economy firing on all cylinders. She revealed plans to secure the UK’s long-term commitment to research, development and innovation, including:
• Substantial real terms increases in government investment worth £2 billion per year by 2020 for research and development, to ensure British business remains at the cutting edge of scientific and technological discovery. This increase of around 20% to total government R&D spending is more than any increase in any Parliament since 1979.
• A new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which will back priority technologies – such as robotics, artificial intelligence and biotechnology – where the UK has proven scientific strength and there is a significant economic opportunity. Until now, Britain has been relatively weak on commercialisation, meaning that often ideas developed in this country end up being commercialised elsewhere.
• A review of current R&D tax incentives, building on the introduction of the ‘above the line’ R&D tax credits to ensure the global competitiveness of the UK as a home for scientists, innovators and tech investors.
UK RESEARCH AND INNOVATION (UKRI)
A new government body, created to integrate research and Innovate UK functions will be known as UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and combine Innovate UK with the HEFCE and 7 Research Councils. It will offer an opportunity to strengthen the strategic approach to future challenges and maximise value from Government’s investment of over £6 billion per annum in research and innovation.
Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency and have invested £1.8 billion in innovation since 2007. Under the new government plans, investment will increase to £2bn p.a. by 2020.
Funding investments include an additional £100 million until 2020-21 to extend and enhance the Biomedical Catalyst and a further £100 million until 2020-21 to incentivise university collaboration in tech transfer and in working with business.
Does the increase in UK R&D grant funding have anything to do with Brexit?
Looking at the implementation of the increase in R&D funding to 2020/21 (see the graph below), it seems that whilst UK companies are eligible to apply for the Horizon 2020 EU grant funding that there is no increase in overall UK R&D funding. However, in 2019, presumably in a post-brexit position, there is a substantial increase in UK R&D funding to £1.5bn p.a. in 2019 and £2bn p.a. in 2020. This looks very much like an attempt to match the support innovative UK businesses can expect to receive currently in a post-brexit position. Excellent news – let’s keep a close eye on how this develops over time.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR MY BUSINESS?
• It appears that this Conservative Government under Theresa May and Philip Hammond are committed to the continued use of Government funds to support research and development through the allocation of grant funding. These real term increases in government investment for research and development will mean that more businesses than ever can now benefit from R&D grant funding.
• The allocation of grant funding (given in the table below) shows the priority sectors, but also shows an across the board increase in the Open Call that means innovative companies from all sectors are to receive more grant funding to 2020/21
• If you are interested to understand the likelihood of securing grant funding for your business, you can download our grant report that sets out the profile of success grant applicants.
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