The National Academies recognise the need to better understand the range of benefits that research and innovation (R&I) bring to the UK, the distribution of those benefits across the country and its population, how those benefits are achieved and how best to measure them. The Academies assembled a Steering Group to oversee the commissioning of two evidence syntheses to investigate these questions. These reports are a step in developing an evidence base to better describe the conditions needed to ensure the continued excellence of the UK’s outstanding research and innovation base and its delivery of benefits, broadly understood, to the UK’s people. Commission one is an evidence synthesis on measuring the distribution of benefits of research and innovation. Commission two considers the conditions needed to translate research and drive innovation, looking in depth at four different sectors: creative industries, defence, fintech and pharmaceutical and life sciences.