Government launches new Innovation strategy to put the UK as leader in global innovation race

SMEs can benefit from the 'Help To Grow: Digital' scheme, helping businesses adopt digital technologies to increase productivity

Government launches new Innovation strategy to put the UK as leader in global innovation race

SMEs can benefit from the ‘Help To Grow: Digital’ scheme, helping businesses adopt digital technologies to increase productivity 

Innovation is the bread and butter to development and growth in business, paving the way for new technologies to tackle some of the biggest challenges our country faces. Now, the government has launched a new Innovation Strategy to cement the UK’s position on the world stage as a leader in science, research and innovation. 

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has launched the new Innovation Strategy on 22 July, setting out the government’s long-term vision to put the UK at the front of the global innovation race. The strategy aims to boost private sector investment across the UK, creating optimal conditions for businesses to turn world-leading science into new products and services. 

The UK is committed to increasing public investment in research and development (R&D) by a record £22 billion across the UK, but the private sector also plays a key role in boosting spending on R&D. This will help boost opportunities and support UK businesses out of the pandemic, bringing innovation to the forefront and aiding the country’s development in the oncoming years. 

The government will specify innovation missions to set out the direction, urgency and pace on issues the UK faces and how to tackle them with the private sector. The Innovation Strategy outlines how the government will focus its efforts to support businesses and institutions in four specific areas. These include ‘Unleashing Business’, allowing innovative businesses access to private and public investment, ‘People’, creating dynamic environments for talented innovators, ‘Institutions and Places’, ensuring R&D institutions serve the needs of businesses and promote innovation across the UK, and ‘Missions and Technologies’, stimulating innovation in technology and missions that will provide the UK with a strategic advantage. 

Innovate UK and the British Business Bank will develop an online finance and innovation hub within the next 12 months as part of the Innovation Strategy, helping to reduce complexity for innovative companies. The strategy will also see a £200 million investment through the British Business Bank’s Life Sciences Investment Programme, targeting the growth-stage funding gap faced by UK life science companies. The strategy has launced the ‘Help To Grow: Digital’ scheme, a new UK-wide scheme to help SMEs adopt digital technologies, boosting their business’s performance, resilience, and long-term growth to recover from the pandemic. The Government will work with universities and other research organisations, charities, Catapults, public sector research establishments and research and innovation institutes who will all play a key role in the implementation of the Strategy.

The Innovation Strategy also aims to level up research and innovation in the UK, including training to upskill the next generation of lenders, supporting them in their ability to assess risk when lending to innovative businesses. The government will establish a £10 million innovation seed fund to provide early-stage patient capital for high-potential businesses, and also provide a £50 million package for innovation infrastructure projects. 

The UK can look back on a proud history of changing the world through innovation. From the industrial revolution to the vaccine development of the past year, the impact on our everyday lives is undeniable, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said. That spirit of discovery is still alive in this country today, but we have not always turned our genius for innovation into jobs and companies here in Britain. The countries that secure leadership in such transformational technologies will lead the world, enjoying unrivalled growth, security and prosperity for decades to come ‘ and it’s our job to ensure the UK keeps pace with the global innovation race.  

She added: Through this long-term plan, we want to rekindle our country’s flame of innovation and discovery, helping businesses to seize the vast opportunities that innovation can bring. If we get this right, we can build the foundations for the new industries of tomorrow, and ensure British firms are at the front of the pack to turn world-leading science into new products and services that are successful in international markets.

Latifa Yedroudj
Latifa Yedroudj

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