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R&D roadmap offers a launchpad for UK science and engineering

01 Jul 2020

The Government has today published an R&D Roadmap, setting out its vision and ambition for science, research and innovation. 

The roadmap identifies a series of challenges and opportunities to drive forward UK science and innovation, across investment, regional growth, diverse skills, global talent and international collaborations.

Here we’ve taken a closer look at the newly published plan for growing UK research and development.

Commenting on the roadmap, CaSE Assistant Director Dr Daniel Rathbone said:

“While recognising the current uncertainty and difficulties caused by Covid-19 there is a real opportunity now to put R&D in all its forms at the heart of the economic recovery and transform the R&D intensity of the whole UK, to the benefit of all. In that context the publication of the Government’s roadmap today is very welcome.

“The R&D roadmap offers the opportunity to take UK science and innovation to the next level. We look forward to being involved in the conversation with the Government and the wider R&D community as the ideas in this roadmap are turned into actions.”

On the “Levelling-up” Agenda:

“R&D investment can have a powerful impact on local economic growth so I am pleased to see the Government take on board many of the recommendations of our recent report The Power of Place on regional R&D investment including the importance of identifying and investing in excellence and fully involving local and regional leaders across the UK in decisions about R&D investment.

On international collaborations:

“Collaborations are vital to great science, as has been highlighted by the global efforts to combat Covid-19. Therefore I welcome the Government’s renewed commitment to a full association with Horizon Europe. This will allow UK scientists to continue to lead collaborations on cutting-edge research which will help improve lives here and across the world. It is also positive that the Government has recognised that it may need to take action to sustain funding opportunities if there is a delay in reaching an association agreement.”

On attracting global talent:

“The focus on talent in the roadmap and the further extension of post-study work visas for PhD students to make them more globally competitive also signals the Government understands the importance of people to the success of the UK’s R&D sector.”

Plans announced in the roadmap include:

  • Re-commitment to increase UK investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and to increase public funding for R&D to £22 billion per year by 2024/25
  • Establish a new Office for Talent to better attract global science, research and innovation talent to come to the UK.
  • International students who complete a PhD from summer 2021 can stay in the UK for three years after study to live and work. This follows the announcement of a new global fast-track visa scheme from January 2020.
  • Setting up a new Innovation Expert Group to review and improve how the Government supports research through all stages of development.
  • Publish a new UK R&D Place Strategy later this year to maximise local growth and societal benefit from R&D across the UK. This will be supported by the creation of a ministerial R&D Place Advisory Group to inform and analyse decision-making on the place agenda.
  • Create a new R&D People and Culture Strategy to increase the attractiveness and sustainability of careers throughout the R&D workforce.
  • Develop a new funding offer for collaboration to ensure the UK can further benefit from the opportunities of international scientific partnerships.


  1. On Covid-19 – CaSE is working with its members and other stakeholders to ensure that the entire research and innovation sector recovers from the impact of Covid-19.
  2. On investment – CaSE published its report, ‘Building on Scientific Strength; The Next Decade of R&D Investment, on how the Government can stimulate a rise in the UK’s research intensity and meet the goal of investing 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027. 
  3. On the Place Agenda – CaSE published its report The Power of Place, examining how to maximise the local economic impact of greater R&D intensity across the regions and nations of the UK
  4. On attracting global talent – In January 2020, CaSE responded to the government’s announcement of a new global fast-track visa scheme to better attract international scientists. This followed the announcement of a new two-year post-study work visa, a measure which CaSE had called on the new Prime Minister to bring about.