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Research and Innovation Infrastructure

What is research and innovation infrastructure?

The UK’s world-leading status in research and innovation is in large part founded upon its network of internationally competitive, high-quality and accessible research and innovation infrastructure. This includes:

  • large-scale physical research facilities, equipment and sets of instruments, such as synchrotrons, research ships, scientific satellites and ‘living labs’ like The National Virology Centre
  • networks of technologies and e-infrastructures including data and computing systems and communication networks, including the high-performance computing service ARCHER
  • knowledge-based resources, including scientific, cultural and artistic collections and archives

To meet the ambitions of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and the target to increase total R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, the UK will need to invest in research and innovation infrastructure.

To increase our understanding of the UK’s current capabilities and to plan for the future, UK Research and Innovation has provided an assessment of the UK’s infrastructure for the first time, on behalf of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Findings of the infrastructure programme

The findings of the infrastructure programme are summarised in the two reports below.

  • Opportunities to grow our capability (PDF, 6.2MB) - This report assesses the future infrastructure landscape and identifies needs, opportunities and key themes that could be a major benefit to the UK’s capability to 2030. It is intended as a strategic guide to inform investment decisions for the next generation of infrastructure.
  • Landscape analysis (PDF, 4.9MB) - This report provides a detailed picture of the UK’s infrastructure. It builds on the Initial analysis of the UK’s landscape of infrastructures, filling gaps in the data and exploring key issues in more depth.

The reports build on the findings of two interim reports: see our Programme background and objectives.

The UK research and innovation infrastructure portal

As part of this programme, we have created a portal that catalogues hundreds of research and innovation infrastructures across the UK, whether they come under UKRI’s remit or not. It is available as a resource for researchers, innovators, international partners and businesses with an interest in using UK infrastructure in their work. View the portal online

Research and innovation infrastructure case studies

To promote and showcase the breadth of UK infrastructure capability to researchers, innovators, international partners and businesses, we have put together a representative snapshot of some examples of the UK infrastructure within and beyond UKRI to appreciate the range and opportunities the UK provides. View the infrastructure case studies online.

International links: UK proposals to the 2021 ESFRI Roadmap

The European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) is updating its Roadmap of pan-European Research Infrastructures and has launched a process for new proposals to be considered for inclusion on the 2021 Roadmap. For more information please see the International links: UK proposals to the 2021 ESFRI Roadmap. Submissions must be made by 10 February 2020.