To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to page 72 of the UK Innovation Strategy, published in July 2021, what steps his Department has taken to improve the regional distribution of private R&D investment.
6 January 2022
The 2021 Spending Review set out the Government’s plan to increase public R&D spending to £22 billion a year by 2026/27 and restates our target for UK economy-wide R&D investment to reach 2.4% of GDP by 2027. Private investment forms around 2/3rd of current activity, so it is only by working with innovative businesses and funders from the private sector that we will reach 2.4%. The Innovation Strategy commits to using levers such as procurement, better regulation and the identification of key technologies as a means to create the conditions for private sector investment in innovation across the country.
We want to encourage businesses to invest in local economies and communities. The Innovation Strategy also outlined our thinking on how to grow innovation clusters, and to ensure that research and innovation benefits the economy and society across the UK through both systemic and targeted measures that respond to the varying needs of places. It announced £127 million in new investment through the Strength In Places Fund. This fund has pioneered bringing together consortia of diverse local actors, including business, to develop the R&D capabilities of places across the UK to improve local economic growth. The Government is investing over £300 million in 12 major projects in nations and regions across the UK, attracting an additional £340 million of investment including from private firms.
The forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper will take a comprehensive place-based approach to economic growth and will set out more detail on how the Government will support levelling up through R&D.