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The UK Shared Prosperity Fund should help to grow research and innovation capacity across the UK

05 March 2021

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is expected to replace European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) later in 2021 with the objective of levelling up and creating opportunity for people and places across the UK. 

The Government has committed to match the total amount received through ESIF at the national level while the UK was a member of the EU at around £1.5 billion a year.


  • The Government should rapidly deliver the Shared Prosperity Fund and ensure that it continues to support research and innovation activities to avoid a funding cliff edge that leads to a loss of these activities and capabilities across all the UK’s nations and regions. Once lost, these will take time and investment to rebuild.
  • The fund must complement other new and existing initiatives at a national and devolved level which use data to target local strengths and excellence in research and build on different regions’ comparative advantages including infrastructure and skills.

In this explainer we outline what the UKSPF is, how ESIF supported research and innovation capacity across the UK and why the new fund must continue to support research and innovation to achieve the Government’s ambitions to level up and create opportunity across the UK for people and places.

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