The Royal Academy of Engineering welcomes announcements made in last week’s Budget aimed at supporting engineering industry and academia and maximising opportunities for the engineering sector to support future economic growth.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“The Chancellor’s support for engineering and technology in this Budget is welcome, reinforcing the Industrial Strategy that is already in place to focus on key business sectors. Investment in cities, energy, transport and digital infrastructure will reap future rewards – the engineering sector as a whole contributes at least one fifth of the UK’s gross value added.

“Enhanced support for research is also welcome – as a nation, our engineering research operation is extraordinarily efficient and focused.  However, in a world economy where technological expertise drives economic growth, we need to increase and sustain investment in engineering research if we want to continue as a world-leading nation.”

Engineering-related announcements included:

  • Science Capital – Frontier Projects:  1) Government is to commit up to £138m of existing capital funding for the UK Collaboration for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC); 2) Government is also working with the University of Oxford to progress proposals for a new national research centre focused on the physical and life sciences – the Rosalind Franklin Institute.
  • The Centre for Agricultural Informatics and Sustainability Metrics: as part of the Industrial Strategy for Agri-Tech, £12 million is being awarded to a consortium of business and academia to establish and run the Centre for Agricultural Informatics and Sustainability Metrics. The centre will enable the use of data science and modelling to build a more intelligent and therefore more productive, sustainable and efficient food system.
  • The new Energy Systems Catapult will be located in Birmingham.
  • Apprenticeship vouchers for employers.
  • Supporting the chemicals sector: £1m investment in the Centre for Process Innovation to help chemicals companies improve their products and processes.
  • Digital currencies: a new £10 million research initiative will bring together the research councils, Alan Turing Institute and Digital Catapult with industry to address the research opportunities and challenges for digital currency technology.
  • Compensation for energy intensive industries: manufacturers, including steel makers, will benefit from the early introduction of a government compensation scheme.
  • Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) to be established in the Midlands, which will focus efforts to commercialise pioneering research to help lower energy costs in manufacturing and further develop the energy industry.
  • Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield to become new entrepreneur hubs: £11 million funding for new tech entrepreneur hubs. Funding of £700,000 for a sharing cities pilot in Leeds and Manchester through activities such as office-sharing, car clubs and community hubs to help drive local growth.
  • Intelligent Mobility: Government and industry are committing £100 million each to fund research into autonomous vehicles of the future.
  • Internet of Things: Government is investing £40 million for new research projects in health and social care and cities to demonstrate Internet of Things technology.
  • Support for postgraduate research: Government will launch a review of how to broaden and strengthen support for postgraduate researchers - building on partnerships with industry and charities and with a proposal to introduce Income Contingent Loans of up to £25,000. Some central Government controls from Research Council institutes are being removed.
  • Building on the UK’s Research Partnership Investment Fund: allocation of £400m to build on the strength and success of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), which helps universities to secure and accelerate private co-investment into university research infrastructure.
  • UKTI Northern Growth Initiatives: UKTI is launching three initiatives with £5 million funding to drive growth, create jobs and attract investment for infrastructure in cities in the North of England.
  • UKTI China Initiative: UKTI is launching a new push to strengthen its presence in China and identify more export opportunities across a range of sectors, backed by £7.5m in 2015-16.

Notes for Editors

Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering.

We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation.

We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.

For more information please contact:

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering
T: 020 7766 0636
E:  Jane Sutton