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UK Research and Innovation will play a fundamental role in ensuring the UK is able to meet the unprecedented societal and industrial challenges that we face both locally and internationally.

The UK is globally recognised as a world leading knowledge economy. It is vital that we maintain and capitalise on this status at this time of global demographic, technological, and geopolitical change. Recognising these challenges, the Government has positioned research and innovation at the heart of its Industrial Strategy. The Government has committed an additional £7 billion by 2021/22 and set an ambitious target to increase expenditure on research and development (R&D) to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. This investment reinforces the Government’s support for UK Research and Innovation and rightly comes with high expectations.

UK Research and Innovation will work with all the research and innovation communities to:

  • push the frontiers of human knowledge and understanding
  • deliver economic impact
  • create social and cultural impact by supporting our society and others to become enriched, healthier, more resilient and sustainable

To achieve this, we must invest public money wisely. We will partner others to provide the best environment for research and innovation to flourish. We will work with public and policy stakeholders, involving them in the inspiring programmes we support.

To succeed as an organisation we need to be open to new and ambitious ways of working and ensure that we never cease to look for and implement ways to “raise our game”. We are building on the excellence of all of our individual councils, and innovation and collaboration must be at the heart of all of our work. We will be much more than a confederation of nine councils. We will catalyse by working across UKRI with researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs in academia, business, charities and government to develop and bring to fruition the most exciting ideas. We will be ambitious in the ways that we support talented and diverse individuals and teams who are prepared to take on difficult and challenging opportunities. 

This Strategic Prospectus represents the beginning of the process to develop a detailed Research and Innovation Strategy. Over the coming months, we will be conducting research and consultation to develop the approach of UKRI, working with others, to answer a series of big questions. These include how to grow the economy across different regions of the UK, whilst continuing to expand our existing world-leading excellence; how to reduce the gap in productivity that separates the most from the least productive businesses; and the best approaches to developing talent across the diverse population of the UK and providing the skills needs of the future. As part of this, each UKRI council will continue to engage researchers, innovators, businesses, charities and members of the public, and will come forward with detailed Strategic Delivery Plans.

We look forward to hearing your views and working with you to realise our vision for UKRI: benefiting everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas with insight, inspiration and impact.

Sir John Kingman and Sir Mark Walport