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Autumn Budget 2017: R&D headline overview

22 Nov 2017

Daniel Rathbone

Assistant Director

A top-level digest of the public R&D figures to help you navigate the 2017 Autumn Budget

Early on Monday morning, the Government announced an increase in R&D funding in 2021/22 of £2.3bn. This follows the £4.7bn announced in last years’ Autumn statement (AS16) which scaled up over 4 years to reach £2bn in 2020/21. The additional funding announced this week, therefore, extends this commitment by a year and increases it by £300m.

The Prime Minister’s article announcing the increase stated that public investment in R&D will have risen from £9bn in 2015 (as set out in the ONS GERD stats for 2015), to £12bn in 2020/21 according to their figures. It also stated that the additional £2.3bn will take the total public spend on R&D to £12.5bn in 2021/22.

Clearly it isn’t a simple case of adding one figure to the other (12 + 2.3 does not equal 12.5), and as this total figure includes R&D right across government and not just in BEIS it could include a range of announced or assumed increases (ie baseline increases in line with inflation) that we have not (yet!) tracked. We look forward to hearing/figuring out a bit more detail on what these headline totals are made up of. 

What CaSE has tracked is the BEIS R&D funding announcements since 2015. In the below graph we have added them to the £9.2bn baseline (from ONS GERD figures). The graph includes the Global Challenges Research Fund announced in the 2015 Spending Review (SR15 GCRF), which has only been announced up to 2020/21, along with the AS16 funding of £4.7bn over 4 years, along with this week’s announcement. The graph below also puts this funding in the context of the Government’s stated aim of combined public and private funding reaching 2.4% of GDP by 2027, indicating the additional public and private funding that we project will be needed to meet that target   

CaSE has called on Government to set an interim milestone for investment in R&D to reach 0.7% of GDP by 2022. The pledge made in this years’ budget (AB17) would mean that the Government spend would reach 0.65% of GDP on R&D in 2021/22 (based on the current value of the UK’s GDP).

Below, we have attempted to put this all in one place. It can also be downloaded as a pdf.

*The value for UK GDP used to calculate the % of GDP differ between 2015 and 2020/21. The 2015 value is calculated from the 2015 GDP figure, and the values for 2020/21 and beyond are calculated from the 2017 GDP figure.