UKRI welcomes Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

A hand holding a fountain pen and about to sign a letter.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) today welcomed the government’s renewed commitment to research and innovation.

This follows the Chancellor’s announcement of a series of investments in science and technology through his Autumn Statement.

These reflect the long-term goals of the government’s Science and Technology Framework, announced earlier in the year, which leverages UKRI’s role as an integrated funding body and a unique source of scientific and operational delivery expertise across the whole research, development and innovation (RDI) landscape.

Science and innovation featured prominently in the statement, which included welcome measures to support the development of talent and skills.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, UKRI’s Chief Executive said:

We welcome the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, which reflects the pillars of the Science and Technology Framework, aligning investment and incentives to support the UK’s world-class research and innovation system.

Combined with the responses to the Spin-out Review and Landscape Review, it provides a clear roadmap of priorities, which UKRI is uniquely placed to help deliver.

Among the Chancellor’s announcements are:

Innovation boost

A £145 million investment through UKRI, particularly Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, to support the business innovation ecosystem and boost areas of strategic advantage throughout the UK.

Faraday Discovery Fellowships

The creation of long-term world-class Faraday Discovery Fellowships for emerging top mid-career talent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, to be backed by a £250 million endowment to the Royal Society.

Compute

A further £500 million investment in artificial intelligence (AI) compute over two years as part of an expansion of the AI Research Resource.

This additional government investment, building on significant government investments this year, will place the UK research base in a strong position to exploit these latest technological advances to advance discovery and fuel innovation, with benefits across our economy and public services.

Quantum missions

Five long-term visionary Quantum Technologies missions that aim to equip the UK with world-leading capabilities and applications of quantum-based systems for the future.

These will include: by 2030 every NHS Trust will benefit from quantum sensing-enabled solutions, helping those with chronic illness live healthier, longer lives through early diagnosis and treatment.

And by 2035 the UK will have deployed the world’s most advanced quantum network at scale, pioneering the future quantum internet.

Dementia

An investment of £20 million via the Medical Research Council, in collaboration with The Dame Barbara Windsor Dementia Mission, to launch a Dementia Accelerator to speed up the development of promising new treatments.

The accelerator, to be run in partnership with industry, academia and the NHS, will speed up the set-up of clinical trials, increase the number and diversity of patients recruited into trials, and promote testing of innovative tools and approaches to trial design.

It will also improve patients’ experience of participating in clinical trials and promote the spread of good practice across sites around the UK.

Spin-out review

UKRI’s welcome for the Autumn Statement coincides with the publication of its welcome for the Department for Science Innovation and Technology (DSIT)’s response to the independent review of university spin-outs that was led by Professor Irene Tracey and Dr Andrew Williamson.

Landscape review

In addition, UKRI has also welcomed the government’s response to the review of the research, development and innovation organisational landscape (PDF, 1.3MB), led by Sir Paul Nurse.

UKRI has published a new analysis that will help understand the financial sustainability challenges in the higher education research sector and has established a new £10 million Metascience unit in collaboration with DSIT, supporting UKRI’s role as an expert, evidence based, innovative investor.

The Metascience unit will be jointly run by DSIT and UKRI, delivering a competitive grants programme and generating evidence to support both policymaking and research and development funding, with a broad focus on improving the effectives of our RDI systems, for the benefit of the UK’s economy and society.

Top image:  Credit: Duncan_Andison, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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