This was our first regional funding data and analysis, published in 2020.
Research and development activity by region 2017 to 2018
As shown in table 1, between them, London, the South East and the East of England made up 52% of national gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) in 2017-18.
Table 1: R&D activity by region 2017-18
|Gross expenditure on R&D (GERD)||GERD %||Business enterprise R&D (BERD)||BERD %|
|NUTS 1 region||2017, £ million||2017||2017, £ million||2017|
|East of England||5,938||17%||4,677||20%|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||1,641||5%||938||4%|
Regional breakdown of quality-related (QR) funding
Table 2 below provides a breakdown of QR funding, allocated to eligible higher education institutions in England by Research England and determined through the devolved higher education funding bodies for QR-equivalent funding in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The distribution of Research England’s QR allocations is largely driven by the scale, cost and quality of research activity in universities.
Table 2 shows high concentrations in London, the South East, Scotland and East of England, reflecting the presence of very large research-intensive institutions in those regions. Taking the number of universities receiving research funding in a region into account, the picture changes, bringing the North East into the top four best performing regions.
Accounting for the number of researchers in each region receiving QR (or equivalent), funding is still reflective of the concentration of research-intensive universities and skills, however it shows a different distribution with Northern Ireland emerging as the top recipient.
|NUTS 1 region||QR, postgraduate research study (PGR) and research excellence grant (REG) research funding allocated||QR, PGR and REG research funding per researcher approx. (£)
Source: HESA microdata
|QR, PGR and REG research funding per research active university (£ million)
Source: HESA microdata
|East of England||165||8,753||16|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||135||6,329||12|
About the data in table 2
In the funding allocated column, figures for 2017/18 are the latest available for funding received. QR funding is allocated within the academic year.
In the funding per researcher and per university columns, ‘researchers’ is the combination of staff and student researchers. Staff researchers have been defined as staff who are on an ‘Academic contract that is research only’ or an ‘Academic contract that is both teaching and research’. Student researchers have been defined as those registered for a ‘Doctoral degree that meets the criteria for a research-based higher degree’.
Regional breakdown of business-led innovation
Innovate UK funding is focused on supporting UK business innovation, including in collaboration with research organisations.
The regional distribution of Innovate UK allocations is closely linked to the economic composition of each part of the country. The data shows large year-on-year fluctuations in funding allocations, driven in part by occasional large grants for centres such as the Catapult network.
To account for the differing economic structure and number of innovative businesses in each region, we normalise by the number of businesses claiming R&D tax credits, over multiple years.
This shows the North East, West Midlands, South West and Scotland emerge as the top four beneficiaries of Innovate UK R&D funding.
The North West, Wales and Northern Ireland on average receive the least Innovate UK funding.
|Innovate UK total allocation||Innovate UK total allocations per business claiming R&D tax credit|
|NUTS 1 region||2017-18 FY (£ million)||2017-18 FY (£)|
|East of England||114||24,267|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||47||13,964|
The above data shows us that the overall level of QR (or equivalent) and Innovate UK funding reflect the regional R&D concentrations across the wider economy.
When taking the research-active business and university populations into account, these UKRI funding streams build on strengths in all parts of the UK, but there are still variations which require further investigation.
About the data in table 3
The Innovate UK total allocations column includes all Innovate UK allocations in financial year 2017-18 from transparency data. Value is calculated using grant offered variable, and project start date.
Innovate UK total allocations are subject to annual variation. Additionally, the figures do not account for a headquartering effect, whereby a grant location may be recorded as the headquarter of a firm and not where the R&D takes place.
Source for number of businesses claiming R&D tax credits: HMRC
In the allocations per business column, ‘researchers’ is the combination of staff and student researchers. Staff researchers have been defined as staff who are on an ‘Academic contract that is research only’ or an ‘Academic contract that is both teaching and research’. Student researchers have been defined as those registered for a ‘Doctoral degree that meets the criteria for a research-based higher degree’.