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R&D in the UK: a plan to become competitive again

February 8, 2021

The UK government is working on an ambitious program to become a world leader in science, research and innovation (R&D). On 22 July the Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, launched the “Innovation Strategy” program, aimed at enhancing and encouraging British companies to invest in research, development and innovation.

“The UK can only be proud of its past in terms of innovations, from the industrial revolution to last year’s vaccine development” said Kwasi Kwarteng, underlining how the spirit of discovery and innovation is not lacking in the British human capital, but it is not enough to boost the job demand, the reason why implementing a program that puts investment in innovation first is a priority.

The “Innovation Strategy” is part of the broader long-term “Plan for Growth” program, the aim of which is to facilitate investment in research and development for all UK companies and create the right conditions to be able to achieve them. The UK has decided to allocate a record £22bn to R&D to encourage the private sector to invest in innovation.

The plan will be developed in 4 areas:

  • Providing businesses with the public resources necessary for innovation;
  • Developing the tools to train people;
  • Training public bodies on R&D so that they can provide support information for companies that want to invest in innovation;
  • Stimulating technological innovation to acquire a strategic advantage on a global scale.

The important investment in innovation is a decisive step that provides companies not only with the economic resources to be able to make them internationally competitive, but also to be able to face the current difficult pandemic situation, having the right technological and innovation tools.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how the most important challenges can be successfully addressed through the deployment of large investments in science, innovation and technology, and has shown that British innovators, when given the right support, freedom and risk tolerance, can achieve results that otherwise would not be achievable. The R&D sector, understood as research and development also in terms of personnel training, has undergone a downsizing in recent years, the reason why the government has decided to relaunch it through a “mission for innovation”, as mentioned on its official website www.gov.uk.

Management will be entrusted to a new body, the “National Science and Technology Council” and supported by the body that deals with scientific and technological strategies, the “Office for Science and Technology Strategy”. The government plans to implement 7 technological strategies, which include the incentive of clean technologies, robotics, genomics and artificial intelligence (AI), sectors in which the United Kingdom has proven itself to be a global player.

For more details, visit the website New plans to put UK at front of global innovation race – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

Domenico Santomasi

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