BEIS launches new UK Innovation Strategy

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News & Press
July 22, 2021

BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) has today announced the new Innovation Strategy, detailing the vision to put innovation at the heart of building back better, including an increase in annual public investment in R&D to a record £22 billion. The goal? Put the UK at the front of the global innovation race.

Njy Rios, Partner for R&D Incentives at Ayming UK, is part of the Innovation Expert Group that worked alongside BEIS to develop this strategy. To achieve its ambitions, the strategy identifies plans for four specific areas designed to foster an environment that maximises support for businesses at the cutting edge of innovation.

The first area, ‘Unleashing Business’, aims to ensure effective access to private and public funding for businesses that want to innovate. Another area is ‘People’, helping to create the most exciting place in the world for talented innovators. ‘Institutions and Places’ focuses on ensuring R&D institutions serve the needs of businesses and promoting innovation in places across the UK. Finally, ‘Missions and Technologies’ will focus on stimulating innovation in technology and missions that will provide the UK with a strategic advantage – an area critical to tackling some of the nation’s most significant challenges.

The strategy also outlines the strategic technologies it will prioritise, helping to build on the UK’s existing R&D strengths. These include:

  • Advanced materials and manufacturing
  • AI, digital and advanced computing
  • Bioinformatics and genomics
  • Engineering biology
  • Electronics, photonics and quantum
  • Energy and environment technologies
  • Robotics and Smart Machine

At the start of the year, Njy hosted a client roundtable, attended by BEIS representatives, to discuss the strategy. The attendees raised many interesting points, including the need for the UK’s innovation ecosystem to prioritise entrepreneurial thinking, be fast-paced to ensure success, and build on existing programs and initiatives rather than another total overhaul.

Njy Rios, Director of R&D Incentives for Ayming UK, says: “There’s plenty to celebrate about this document. The Government clearly sees the importance of science and innovation and has clearly listened to the input from the industry consultations. It’s also great to see that the document recognises that innovation has benefits beyond just the economy in that it can improve our society and people’s lives.

Positively, there are clear plans to tackle climate change and support the creation of sustainable solutions in the Strategy, and plans to release a more detailed Net Zero Strategy. Green technology really is the key to the climate crisis, so it’s great for the Government to declare these ambitions, but now we need them to follow up. Sustainable innovation is desperately needed to transform us into a green economy and avoid a climate crisis, so there’s a huge demand for solutions that we can then export. The Government should be doing everything they can to incentivise and scale sustainably motivated R&D projects.

I look forward to seeing more detail on the plan of action to tackle these.”

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