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UK Innovation Strategy

The UK Innovation Strategy: leading the future by creating it (Published July 2021) outlines the governments vision to increase innovation to enhance productivity across the economy, increasing jobs, growth and prosperity.

The strategy sets out how the whole innovation ecosystem of businesses, government, R&D –performing organisations, finance providers and funders will need to come together to achieve these innovation ambitions.

Delivering the strategy requires collaboration, including those between Universities and businesses. Emphasis is placed on enabling commercialisation of ideas from the UKs world-leading research base- from basic research through to applied and translational research.

The Innovation Strategy links directly to the governments Build back better: our plan for growth (Published March 2021), where infrastructure, skills and innovation are central.

The October 2021 Spending Review outlined the investment boost to research and innovation with total public spending set to reach £20bn by 2024/25 and £22Bn by 2025/26. This includes a strong focus on ways to increase private investment.

The Innovation Strategy has 4 key pillars:

  • Unleashing businesses - directed at those who want to innovate.
  • People - making the UK an attractive place for innovation talent
  • Institutions and places - ensuring our research, development and innovation institutions serve the needs of businesses and places across the UK
  • Missions and technologies - to stimulate innovation to tackle major challenges faced by the UK and the world, driving capability in key technologies

What are the Strategic technology families ?

Seven broad strategic technology areas were identified as areas of strength and opportunity for the UK:

  • Advanced materials and manufacturing
  • AI, digital and advanced computing
  • Bioinformatics and genomics
  • Engineering biology
  • Electronics, photonics and quantum
  • Energy and environment technologies
  • Robotics and smart machines

What are the Innovation Missions?

These will be defined by the new Office for Science and Technology Strategy headed by Sir Patrick Vallance, the National Technology Advisor.

As a first step, the OSTS will support the UK to focus its science and technology capabilities on four key areas:

  • Sustainable Environment - environmental sustainability and resilience, delivering Net Zero, UK and global, innovation and green growth
  • Health and Life Sciences - world leading businesses, improved physical and mental health, disease prevention and global health
  • National Security and Defence, including space - strengthening security, modernising the armed forces, tackling transnational security challenges
  • Digital and Data Driven Economy - driving growth and security through digital technologies, generating productivity across the whole economy

Innovation funding calls

We anticipate specific Innovation funding calls to be run through Innovate UK or via UKRI research councils.

You are most likely to be in a good position for such calls if:

  • your work offers part of a solution to the challenge
  • you have strong relationships with industry partners also developing solutions to the challenge

Contact us

If you are interested in working with your industry partners to apply for funding opportunities, then please contact the Innovation and Business Development team to discuss.