The CBI used the recent opening of Reckitt Benckiser’s new £105m Science and Innovation Centre in Hull to present their proposals for how the next government should relaunch the UK on the world stage as the best place to innovate.
Throughout the UK businesses are undertaking pioneering research and development, BUT
- UK spend on R&D has stagnated since 2008 and is below the OECD average.
- There are large regional inequalities. Just three regions account for 52% of UK R&D spend and just 5 of the UK’s forty sub-regions are investing over 3% of GDP – the cross-party target for national R&D spend.
- Knowledge sharing needs to be improved – connecting corporations with entrepreneurs, universities with innovators, investors with local business leaders and so on, through the creation of ecosystems.
Working together, business and government can catalyse new investment throughout the UK. Government support plays a crucial role in enabling business R&D through sharing risk, providing skills, facilitating collaboration and developing infrastructure.
The CBI propose that the next government should take the following steps.
- Set out a roadmap for raising UK R&D intensity within its first year of office.
- Kickstart innovation activity throughout the UK with new ‘Catapult Quarters’.
- Establish robust methods for accountability, monitoring and oversight.
The report is based on research with CBI members and also draws from their first-of-its-kind ‘policy sprint’ session which brought together businesses, government representatives and other stakeholders from the R&D space.
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