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Consultation response: Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the balance and effectiveness of research and innovation spending

03 October 2018

The Royal Society has submitted evidence to the Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the balance and effectiveness of research and innovation spending.

The response welcomes the government’s commitment to achieving the target of 2.4% of GDP being invested in Research & Development (R&D) by 2027, and 3% in the longer term and highlights a number of actions that are important to deliver this:

  • In order to get the best from that investment the UK will need to increase its “absorptive capacity” for R&D, and ensure that the pattern of investment is shaped by some key principles
  • Foremost among the principles are that funding should support the full spectrum of enquiry, with awards made on the basis of excellence; and that there should be a diverse range of types of funding, including funding of sufficient duration to allow the pursuit of high-risk but potentially transformative research
  • In order to ensure the best research takes place and that the UK is able fully to benefit from it, it will be essential to have smooth access to a wide range of skilled people
  • As a first step the government should publish its vision for an economy that invests 2.4%, and take action now to create consistent and attractive policy and investment pathways to deliver it
  • Getting a good deal for science as the UK leaves the EU is an essential element of this vision
  • Delivering this commitment will need sustained public investment in UK R&D as well as action to create a vibrant national environment that values research and innovation and fosters that research and innovation throughout UK public services, universities, charities and businesses and attracts global investment, incentivising companies to locate their R&D here
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