UK Government sets out largest ever R&D budget

15 March 2022 | Muriel Cozier

‘For too long R&D spending in the UK has trailed behind our neighbours…’

The UK Government has confirmed that the R&D budget for 2022-2025 will be £39.8 billion. Said to be the largest investment ever, the finances will be allocated between partner organisations and help deliver the Government’s Innovation Strategy and progress the ambition to make the UK a science superpower. The Government said that the investments will contribute to the new cross-government approach on R&D, and help to deliver strategic advantage in science and technology and work alongside industry to leverage private investment.

The UK Government’s Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said that the investment includes full funding for EU programmes, with £6.8 billion being allocated to support the UK’s association with Horizon Europe, Euratom Research & Training, and Fusion for Energy. UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) will receive £25 billion over the next three years, reaching some £8.8 billion in 2024-2025. In addition, the Space Agency’s budget will reach more than £600 million by 2024-2025.

The Government’s Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng commented: ‘For too long R&D spending in the UK has trailed behind our neighbours – and in this country, science and business have existed in separate spheres. I am adamant that this must change.’

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said: ‘At a time of significant pressure on public finances, we have achieved this positive settlement by working closely with researchers, innovators, business and partners across the UK to make the strongest possible case for sustained investment in research and innovation.’ Professor Leyser added: ‘There will be difficult choices ahead. We know there are always more excellent ideas, projects and talented people than there is public money to support them, and we have increasing pressure on our budget due to rising inflation.’

Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group added: ‘Russell Group Universities look forward to playing a central role in turning this investment into new knowledge, ideas and talent which will be vital to driving a strong, sustainable recovery and to tackling transformational issues such as delivering net-zero.’

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