The UK Government has committed to finding ways to achieve a green and prosperous future. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has a critical part to play in this endeavour. They spent the past year tackling huge challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic in addition to working on a comprehensive trade deal with the EU.
Going forward, one of their 4 key priorities is to Unleash Innovation. They intend to back innovation and reduce bureaucracy to make the UK a science superpower. They have set out a commitment to increase public spending on R&D to £22 billion, nearly doubling the contribution of GDP. This move will transition the UK into the top 25% of countries in the OECD for public funding of R&D. BEIS is the custodian of the whole R&D system, responsible for setting the direction of research and innovation across the UK.
To help set the direction of innovation for the foreseeable future, they have outlined the following programmes and projects:
- Deliver primary legislation for the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA), focused on funding high-risk, high reward research in new and innovative ways.
- Advance the frontiers of knowledge by investing in world-class research and innovation through UKRI and our partner organisations.
- Deliver on our strategic investment in OneWeb, and ensure the Gen 1 satellite constellation is completed in 2022.
- Publish a new Innovation Strategy to drive up productivity and innovation, to support delivery of the government’s wider Plan for Growth.
- Publish an R&D Places Strategy to ensure that R&D benefits the economy and society and contributed to the government’s wider levelling-up ambition.
- Publish a People and Culture Strategy to build a more productive, sustainable, inclusive and dynamic UK R&D sector.
- Publish an ambitious Space Strategy to set out the UK’s vision and goals and provide certainty to the space sector on our long-term plan.
- Launch a £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, as announced in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan.
- Continue to support growing sectors such as AI, life sciences, space, emerging technologies and clean energy.
- Develop the delivery plan for the Automotive Transformation Fund launched in 2020, to foster and catalyse investment in the electric vehicle supply chain.
- Deliver the first grants for the Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Fund, to build back manufacturing capability across the UK and protect and create high value jobs.
- In partnership with the Regulatory Horizon Council, deliver on our commitments to support new technology through regulatory reform.
- Through our UK Fusion Programme, lead the commercialisation of fusion energy technology, including publication of a Fusion Regulation Green Paper by the autumn.
- Deliver on our Manifesto Commitment to reform the science funding system, through gathering evidence on reducing bureaucracy in research and publishing a reform timetable.
- Set up a new unit and fund within the BEIS family to scout for and develop government knowledge assets, accompanied by new guidance to support public sector organisations to manage their knowledge assets.
- Working with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), maximise the gains from our Association to Horizon Europe and ensure greater coherence in our international approach to R&D, in order to position the UK at the forefront of global scientific collaboration.
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