In her speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
Annual Conference yesterday, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May
announced a "modern Industrial Strategy" aimed at
boosting research and innovation in post-Brexit Britain.
According to her speech, the strategy will comprise three key
An additional £2 billion annual
government investment in research and development, to be introduced
by the end of this Parliament (2020)
A new Industrial Strategy Challenge
Fund to support priority technologies, such as biotech, robotics
and advanced materials manufacturing, to be set up and overseen by
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a public body formed in 2016
from the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England
– the UK Government will consult on how the fund can best
support businesses to ensure that ideas developed in the UK are
commercialised in the UK, but not elsewhere, as has often been the
A review of research and development
(R&D) tax incentives, aimed at ensuring that the UK continues
to actively encourage research and innovation – since 2010,
R&D tax credits have been increased from £1 billion to
almost £2.5 billion a year, but the Treasury will look to see
whether more can be done to stimulate investment in the UK
Mrs May suggested that the Industrial Strategy will be ambitious
for business and for Britain, and that it is about government
"stepping up, not stepping back" and making the most of
the historic opportunity that lies ahead.
Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI Director-General, responded to the speech by describing the
PM's vision as ambitious and inclusive, placing the UK front
and centre of the world stage for innovation. She also suggested
that a first priority for the new investment should be Innovate UK,
which stimulates business innovation by running funding
competitions for UK based companies who are engaged in developing
innovative products or services. £25 million was recently
awarded by Innovate UK to over 60 projects designed to boost UK
manufacturing. Ms Fairbairn went on to say that Innovate UK has an
excellent track record in stimulating innovation but that it was
underfunded, compared to similar organisations outside the UK.
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