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Building a better environment for business R&D

18 Oct 2023

CaSE is launching its next major project of work, a focused look at the needs of business R&D in the UK.

Why Business R&D?

In recent years the Government has made repeated and welcome commitments to invest more in UK R&D. If the UK is to achieve its ambitions to be more research intensive, and we want to see wider growth and productivity in the UK, it is vital that private sector investment also continues to rise.

Yet, the UK Innovation Report 2023 by Cambridge Industrial Innovation Policy outlines that few firms with headquarters in the UK are among the world’s top R&D investors and patent applicants, which represents an ongoing trend.

In a globally competitive climate, the UK must provide an attractive and competitive environment for businesses if it wants them to invest more in R&D.

Why now?

Supporting business investment is a focus of the UK Government’s research and innovation policy, including through the Innovation Strategy and more recently the Science and Technology Framework. This makes for a great opportunity to consider how to effectively leverage these recent political commitments to support the private sector and maximise what they can offer.

Beyond funding, other important aspects of the UK’s research and innovation ecosystem include infrastructure, regulation, procurement, developing skills, and leveraging regional strengths. The challenge is to understand what further initiatives may be needed to encourage business R&D investment, as well as how existing policies can be made to work better together to achieve the scale of commitment needed.

Why CaSE?

As a non-partisan organisation with a membership that cuts across sectors, CaSE is uniquely positioned to take a high-level, cross sector view of the research and innovation environment, and give impartial expert insight on the whole R&D system to all stakeholders.

We can use our track record of policy recommendations in this area, alongside those made by others, to identify areas where progress has been made and where there are still barriers to progress. This will enable CaSE to explore these with its members and others at a series of roundtables, before bringing our findings together in a final report next year.

Objectives and scope of the work

During the project we will aim to develop an understanding of:

How the fundamentals of the R&D system support or deter business R&D investment.

How the UK Government can attract and support businesses looking to start or grow R&D activity in the UK.

The work will consider what has already been done, identifying the most important gaps and barriers to progress, and propose what more can be done. We will consider investment in basic, applied and commercial R&D in businesses of all sizes and across all sectors.

Working with us

We are very grateful to LifeArc for their sponsorship of this project. Without the support of our members and sponsors we wouldn’t be able to generate the level of impact with our projects that we achieve.

We are always open to further collaboration, please do get in touch with the team if you would like to get involved.