How can industry create the research breakthroughs of the future?

Our industries are at the heart of innovation in the UK and have powered technological advances for decades, driving forward the UK’s economy, productivity, national security and environmental protection. Without the contribution of the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, the UK would be less prosperous, secure and sustainable.

Companies in these areas are often located in areas of historic deprivation and play a major role in developing local economies and anchoring communities through well-paid, highly skilled jobs which reward hard work and provide opportunity.

The Government is currently considering how it can use innovation to support the economic recovery, level up the UK and make it a place where businesses are empowered to invest in research and development.

As part of this, we recently made a submission to the R&D Survey carried out by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, setting out detailed priorities for R&D investment in the coming months and years.

ADS believes that there are a number of steps the Government can take to reform the way in which it works with our sectors on R&D projects, helping to solve some of society’s biggest challenges. These measures include

  • Including industry as a key partner throughout the full R&D cycle.
  • Increasing the Aerospace Technology Institute’s budget from £150m per year to £330m per year, which will guarantee and safeguard core technologies and accelerate hybrid, electric and hydrogen-powered flight.
  • Developing a UK synthetic fuels industry that includes the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels. Government investment of £100m per year, matched by industry, will significantly decarbonise flight over the next five years and create up to 14 first‐of‐a kind plants by 2035.
  • Accelerating certain defence, space and security R&D activities to stimulate demand and increase the value generated within the UK.
  • ‘Front-loading’ Government funding for technology, which will kick-start industry investment, with committed private funding seeing projects through to completion.
  • Ramping up the National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP) to £150m per year.
  • Optimising grant funded R&D schemes to enable full industrial participation.
  • Maintaining access to and cooperation with key international markets and funding opportunities.
  • Leveraging Government-to-Government engagement to promote British exports.
  • Developing a strategic national skills plan to meet the demands of the future workforce.

The Government has the opportunity to make the UK an R&D superpower. Our sectors can make that a reality, but only if it works with industry via long-term, strategic planning and targeted investments.

You can view ADS’ submission to the Government’s R&D Survey by clicking on the image below: