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Industrial strategy investment in science, research and innovation

Industrial strategy investment in science, research and innovation

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark has announced that government is backing 125 cutting-edge research and development projects across the country.

  • Business Secretary announces £15 million government backing for 125 innovative research and development projects across the UK
  • Science Minister announces appointment of Sir Mark Walport as Chief Executive Designate of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • ministers from Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to visit businesses and workers across South East to hear views on Industrial Strategy

Building on the launch of the recent Industrial Strategy green paper Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark has (Thursday 2 February 2017) announced that government is backing 125 cutting-edge research and development projects across the country.

Through Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, the government is supporting a wide-range of disruptive, cutting edge innovations and businesses with the awarding of £15 million in grants to business-led, commercial ideas for research and development projects.

Projects receiving funding cover a wide range of themes including rapid charging for electric vehicles, 3-D printing and drone technology, with each concept designed to help businesses develop new products, processes and services with commercial potential.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

Research and innovation has a proven track record of helping drive our economy, while preparing us for the future and creating new products, services and better ways of doing business. For these reasons, science, research and innovation are at the heart of our Industrial Strategy.

Our increased investment of £4.7 billion in research and development funding by 2021 and funding for cutting-edge industries and companies will put the UK and British business at the forefront of global innovation and cement our status as a world-leader in science and research.

Science Minister Jo Johnson has also announced that Professor Sir Mark Walport will be appointed as Chief Executive Designate of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), leading on the establishment of UKRI and ensuring it plays a central role at the heart of the Industrial Strategy.

Subject to the passage of the Higher Education and Research Bill through parliament, UKRI will be established as a single, strategic body that will bring together the 7 Research Councils, Innovate UK and the research and knowledge exchange functions of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

I am delighted that Mark has agreed to take on this pivotal role. With his experience of running a large scale research organisation, collaboration with businesses in all sectors and his work at the heart of government, Mark is uniquely placed to lead the establishment of UKRI and ensure the organisation becomes a major voice for UK research and innovation.

Following his appointment Sir Mark will now work closely with the UKRI Chair Sir John Kingman and the research and innovation communities across the UK to shape the new organisation over the coming months, delivering on the Industrial Strategy proposals for investing in science, research and innovation in the UK.

UKRI Chief Executive Designate Sir Mark Walport said:

I am honoured to be appointed as the first Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). My ambition is to make UKRI the world’s leading research and innovation public funding agency.

I look forward to working closely with the Research Councils, Innovate UK and Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) as we work together to create UKRI. I also look forward to working closely with all of our research and innovation communities to provide a strong and coherent voice for UK science and innovation.

UKRI Non-Executive Chair Sir John Kingman said:

I have worked closely with Mark over many years; he is a superb scientific leader who believes passionately in the potential for great science and innovation to make a profound difference to society and to the economy. He is the ideal first leader for UKRI.

The announcements follow the publication of the government’s Industrial Strategy green paper last week, inviting industries, businesses and local groups to respond to the consultation by completing a series of questions and sharing their views on what the priorities should be for a modern Industrial Strategy.

As part of this, ministers from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will visit businesses and workers across the South East to discuss some of the ideas as part of the consultation process.

Ministers will then meet with key industry bodies including the CBIFSBIOD and BCC, as well as leading figures from science, innovation and industry, at an evening event to hear and discuss their views on the Industrial Strategy.

Building on the Industrial Strategy’s focus on place and to help drive growth across the country, the government has announced today a significant funding boost for London and the South East and the East of England through the Local Growth Fund, enabling Local Enterprise Partnerships to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth.

London and the South East will receive £492 million in funding, while East of England LEPs set to receive £151 million.

This investment could see 237,000 jobs created, 119,000 homes built and attract over £4.7 billion investment. It comes on top of the £2.2 billion of growth funding already awarded.

Further Information

Detail on UKRI

Science, research and innovation are key strengths of the UK; vital underpinning elements of our economy and national wellbeing. The UK research and innovation system is world-leading, but there is an opportunity to make it even more effective. The purpose of Part 3 of the Higher Education and Research Bill is to put in place the legal powers and safeguards that will enable government to protect the UK’s status as a full-spectrum scientific power in the future. The proposals before parliament are to create UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a strong, agile and joined up funder of research and innovation for the UK.

Through UKRI, we are implementing the recommendations of Nobel Prize winning scientist Sir Paul Nurse, who the government asked to lead a review of the UK’s research landscape. In his report, published in November 2015, Sir Paul called on government to “support the Research Councils to collectively make up more than the sum of their parts”, and develop a “smoother pathway to more applied research”.

Subject to the passage of the Higher Education and Research Bill through parliament, UKRI will include the 7 Research Councils, Innovate UK and the research and knowledge exchange functions of HEFCE. This will create a single strategic research and innovation funding body, which will build on and protect the strengths and values of the current system. UKRI will deliver a strengthened strategic approach to future challenges and a maximisation of the value and benefit from government’s investment of over £6 billion per annum in research and innovation. It will provide a greater focus on cross-cutting issues that are outside the core remits of the current funding bodies, such as multi- and inter-disciplinary research, enabling the system to respond rapidly and effectively to current and future challenges. It will be a strengthened, unified voice for the UK’s research and innovation funding system, facilitating the dialogue with government and partners on the global stage. Furthermore, it will create a smoother pathway for innovation, enabling improved collaboration between businesses and researchers and better alignment of research outputs with business needs.

Letter from Sir Mark Walport to partner organisations (PDF, 79.7KB, 2 pages)

Sir Mark Walport biography (PDF, 83.4KB, 1 page)

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