Research and Innovation Infrastructure Roadmap

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) was commissioned by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Ministers to develop the first national research and innovation infrastructure roadmap. This is a challenging task as the UK has never undertaken a road mapping exercise of this breadth and scale. It will offer enormous benefit in increasing our understanding of the UK's current capability and in planning for the future. This work is a component of wider government efforts to raise investment in research and development to 2.4% of GDP. Lord David Willetts is the UKRI Board member who is championing this work.

Programme Objectives

The objective is to create a long-term (until approximately 2030) research and innovation infrastructure roadmap, based on an understanding of existing UK infrastructure (and key international facilities in which the UK participates), future needs (research, economic and social), and resulting investment priorities. In addition, the roadmap will:

  • identify future research and innovation capability priorities
  • identify opportunities for increasing inter-connectivity
  • support development of UKRI's overall long-term investment plan
  • promote the UK as a global leader in research and innovation
  • set out the major steps needed to reach the long-term vision

Please note, this is not a direct funding programme.

Developing the roadmap

The Programme uses the following definition of ‘infrastructure’: Facilities, resources and services that are used by the research and innovation communities to conduct research and foster innovation in their fields. They can include: 

  • major research equipment (or sets of instruments)
  • knowledge-based resources such as collections, archives and data
  • e-infrastructures, such as data and computing systems and communication networks and any other tools that are essential to achieve excellence in research and innovation (R&I)

To develop the roadmap, we are conducting two workstreams:

  • Landscape analysis - assessing the landscape of research and innovation infrastructures currently available to researchers and innovators (within the UK and key activities overseas) to create snapshot of our current capability.
  • Assessment of future priorities and opportunities – identifying priority capabilities and future needs and opportunities that could be addressed by infrastructures. We hope to share more of our progress shortly.

We aim to publish the final roadmap in spring 2019.

Landscape Analysis

The initial analysis of infrastructure questionnaire responses and description of the landscape (PDF, 4.4MB) captures our current understanding. It draws heavily from two questionnaires conducted with over 800 existing infrastructures, supplemented with insight gained from consultation workshops, interviews with stakeholders and previous relevant analysis. It is designed to be used to catalyse discussion and further engagement, which will feed into the final analysis that we produce of the landscape in spring 2019.

Since this is the first attempt to map the UK’s research and innovation infrastructure landscape across all the disciplines represented here we recognise there will be gaps in our data. Over the final months of the roadmap programme we will be addressing the critical gaps in coverage and conducting further analysis by reopening the questionnaire over winter 2019. The questionnaire will open in December 2018 and close on 01 February 2019. The roadmap team is compiling a list of infrastructures that have not yet completed the questionnaire and information about omissions or infrastructures to be included should be communicated to infrastructure@ukri.org.

The programme is also developing an online portal for infrastructure discovery. This portal will be a searchable internet tool that identifies and signposts infrastructures available to UK researchers and innovators. The portal will be released in spring 2019. Further information will be published on this webpage in due course.

Timescales

  • Programme launched – January 2018
  • Emerging findings published – Autumn 2018 
  • First edition published – Spring 2019

We aim to establish a process for reviewing the roadmap, evolving our approach and producing further editions approximately every 3 – 5 years.

Engagement

Development of the progress report has received substantial support and input from our stakeholders and we are grateful for the time and energy they have committed to the process so far.  This has been through a mix of interviews, bespoke workshops (attended by over 350 participants) and discussions at established advisory groups and networks.

We have received input from across academia, representative bodies and learned societies, business networks, key charitable organisations, universities, PSREs, catapult network, government departments, agencies and devolved administrations. The programme has also drawn on the Roadmap Programme Advisory Board (which includes council representatives across UKRI, BEIS funded PSREs, UUK, AIRTO, Devolved Funders and the Royal Society), as well as experience of colleagues responsible for the development of roadmaps in other countries and from ESFRI. We will continue to discuss with stakeholders as we develop the final report, especially to fill gaps in our analysis of current capability and future opportunities for the UK.

Further information

Slides from talks at programme launch event on 22 January 2018:

Further updates on the infrastructure roadmap will be added to this page as the work progresses.

If you have specific questions about particular sections of the Progress Report or Initial Analysis, please email infrastructure@ukri.org clearly specifying to which section your enquiry refers.