The UK government has committed to increasing investment in R&D in the UK from the current 1.7% of GDP to 2.4% by 2027, with a longer-term goal of 3%. This is an ambitious target that will require further public investment. But it will also need businesses to do more: that they invest in more R&D, conduct more R&D, and do more with that R&D. 

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The Academy has spoken to chief technology officers, chief engineers and, in some cases, chief executives responsible for business decisions about R&D at engineering companies across a range of sectors, sizes and locations, to find out which aspects of the current UK environment encourage or discourage further R&D and innovation. Interviews revealed numerous factors that influence their decisions on R&D investment and they broadly divide into two groups:

  • Building on strengths – Areas where the UK is strong. These are the factors that drive companies to make R&D and innovation investments in the UK.
  • Action needed – Areas where the UK performs poorly relative to competitor countries. Action here has the potential to transform how businesses invest in R&D.

The series of explainers shown here present the findings of these interviews.

Download all explainers - Increasing R&D investment: business perspectives (2.48 MB)