We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

£186m of R&D funding will boost local economic growth across the UK


£186m of R&D funding will boost local economic growth across the UK

Seven major new research and innovation projects will boost economic growth and benefit people across central Scotland, Northern Ireland, south Wales, and three areas of England.  

From commercial sailing to finance, and semiconductors to health technologies, each project combines industry, local leadership and research and innovation expertise to help maximise an area’s potential and drive productivity. 

The projects will receive a share of £186m government funding from UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) and as a result will leverage over £230m more from other sources.  

The projects are led by consortia based in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Bristol, Liverpool and Kent.  

  • South Wales: By strengthening a regional cluster in advanced semiconductor materials and manufacturing, this project will bring socio-economic benefits including jobs and training.  

  • Northern Ireland: Building on Belfast’s shipbuilding heritage, this project will de-carbonise maritime transport by creating the UK’s most advanced composite design and manufacturing facilities. 

  • Scotland: The Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence will draw on expertise from across Scotland to establish ethical standards, train new talent, and build new partnerships. 

  • Scotland: Glasgow's Precision Medicine Living Lab will be an internationally leading project focused on translating cutting-edge science and innovation into a real-world clinical setting. 

  • North-west England: This project will boost productivity and generate jobs by creating eight specialist, commercially sustainable research platforms for infectious disease therapeutics.   

  • South-west England: Building on the Bristol and Bath region’s strengths in screen-based media, this project will create major new R&D facilities and collaborations, support new digital formats and provide advanced training. 

  • South-east England: Growing Kent & Medway will drive productivity and sustainable growth in the area by building on its rich heritage of food production to make it the UK’s leading region for climate-smart production and processing of high-value foods and plant-based compounds.  

SIPF’s novel approach to public R&D investment supports projects that increase local economic growth by building on the world-class research and innovation capability in their local areas.  

Each project will deliver a range of long-term benefits for regional and local economies and people including jobs, skills provision, a more competitive and modern industry, better quality of life, and more. A full list is below. 

The projects have all been under development with seed-corn funding from UKRI since March 2019. Thanks to the full-stage award announced today, they can now unlock their full potential, with projects to be delivered over the coming years. 

The Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) is a competitive funding scheme that funds collaborative bids from diverse consortia of publicly funded research organisations, businesses, and local leadership, to undertake research and innovation that will have a demonstrable impact on local economic growth.   

It is a key part of how UK Research and Innovation, the UK’s research and innovation funding agency, has responded to the importance of ‘Place’ as part of the government’s “levelling up” agenda and directs its investment to create real, lasting impact. A cross-council UK Research and Innovation scheme, SIPF is primarily delivered by Research England and Innovate UK in partnership with the higher education funding bodies of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the Office for Students.  

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, said:  

“Today’s announcement will ensure some of our country’s most promising R&D projects get the investment they need to take off and thrive. 

“Working with the private sector our world-class universities, we’re backing new and innovative ideas that will create jobs and boost skills in every part of the UK for years to come.” 

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said:  

"UK Research and Innovation funding through the Strength in Places Fund will bring researchers, industry and local leadership together in outstanding collaborative programmes that will catalyse regional excellence and economic growth across the UK." 

Research England’s Executive Chair, David Sweeney, who leads the Strength in Places Fund, said: 

“UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund is distinctive in specifically targeting investment to foster the local research and innovation ecosystems that can support sustained growth. 

“All of these projects have the potential to deliver research and innovation that will transform activity within their target industries, in a way that is deeply rooted in local strengths and well linked to wider local economic plans. 

“And, with a second wave of Strength in Places funding already in the pipeline, we look forward to broadening the reach of that impact to further projects in other areas of the country in future.” 

For more information see Strength in Places Fund.


For media enquiries please email press@ukri.org or Tamera Jones, 0734 202 5443, tamera.jones@ukri.org 


  1. The Strength in Places Fund is a UK Research and Innovation flagship competitive funding scheme that takes a place-based approach to research and innovation funding to support significant local economic growth. The fund supports collaborative bids from local consortia including both businesses and research organisations, with strong engagement from local leadership partners and alignment with local economic plans.

    2. The Strength in Places Fund is delivered by UK Research and Innovation in partnership with: 
  • the Office for Students - higher education regulator for England, https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk  
  • the Department for the Economy – higher education funding body for Northern Ireland, http://www.economy-ni.gov.uk
  • the Scottish Funding Council – higher education funding body for Scotland, http://www.sfc.ac.uk
  • the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, https://www.hefcw.ac.uk

    3. The UK Government announced the Strength in Places Fund in the Industrial Strategy White Paper. The White Paper highlighted the important role science, research, innovation and skills provision play in driving productivity and economic growth throughout the regions and nations of the UK. The fund forms part of the activity undertaken as part of the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) that will contribute to the UK Government’s target to reach 2.4% of GDP investment in R&D by 2027, and 3% in the longer term. Government unveils Industrial Strategy to boost productivity and earning power of people across the UK 

    4. UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas. https://www.ukri.org/ 

    Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the Arts and Humanities Research Council; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council; Innovate UK; Medical Research Council; Natural Environment Research Council; Research England; and Science and Technology Facilities Council.

    5.UK Research and Innovation is making these awards following a competitive assessment process, which are subject to final checks. 

Please sign up to our weekly newsletter to keep up to date: