Science & Technology – Autumn Statement Update

The Government announced a firm commitment to ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of world science.

This was done in a number of ways, but primarily by protecting the £4.7 billion resource funding. There will also be new funding of £1.5 billion aimed at ensuring the UK takes the lead in addressing problems faced by developing countries. The Government will also ensure the delivery of a £6.9 billion capital investment in science research (including £150 million aimed specifically at helping those with dementia). Over £130 million will be invested in DEFRA’s science facilities too.

On a wider level the Government is implementing Paul Nurse’s review of UK research and will introduce a new body called Research UK. This will take the lead in developing a strategic approach to science funding and strengthen the collaboration between research and the business community.

New finance products will be introduced to support companies to innovate following best practice in countries such as France, Finland and the Netherlands. These will replace some existing Innovate UK grants, and reach £165 million per year by 2019-20, so that total Innovate UK support is maintained in cash terms. Although a grant is preferable to a loan the availability of R&D tax relief should not be overlooked to compliment the Innovate UK funding.

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