UK set to miss R&D target by 26 years

THE UK is more than two decades behind on its research and development spending targets, it is claimed today.

Date:12th October 2018. Picture James Hardisty. Two new state of the art technological innovations have been unveiled by the Crop Health and Protection (CHAP) agency at hi-tech research and development base, Stockbridge Technology Centre near Selby. A hydroponic system fitted with the latest LED lighting is being used to produce crops on a vertical platform independently of sunlight and seasons so that food can be produced year-round, and an advanced glasshouse facility to allow new approaches to crop production and crop protection. Pictured Nigel Bartle, Director of Stockbridge Technology Centre in the new Vertical Farming Development Centre.

A major new report from the CBI and the University of Leeds states that the Government’s aim for R&D investment to reach 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027 is unlikely to be met until 2053 unless the current rate of investment is increased.

Released on the same day as the official launch of the university’s new innovation hub, Nexus, the report sets out how advanced data analytics is opening up a ‘new frontier’ for business R&D, which could help address this potential shortfall.

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In the report, “The Changing Nature of R&D”, the CBI calls on the Government to act on its commitment to delivering the 2.4 per cent target by publishing a comprehensive roadmap and setting out a long-term trajectory for government R&D expenditure.

Date:11th February 2019. Picture James Hardisty. Trevor Hardcastle, chief data scientist at Leeds tech company Vet-AI at Nexus Centre, University of Leeds, Discovery Way, Leeds.

It also recommends support for businesses to develop the capacities they need to understand and unlock value from their data and to deliver the world’s most competitive R&D tax credit by ensuring that it recognises the growing importance of data-driven R&D.

Companies are currently only capturing a fraction of the potential value from data, with less than 10 per cent of UK businesses using CRM to collect, store and share customer information within their businesses.

Beckie Hart, CBI Yorkshire and Humber Regional Director, said: “Businesses are sitting on a mountain of valuable data but many are grappling with what steps to take to exploit its value. Striking up partnerships with universities is one way to

Professor Lisa Roberts, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Leeds, said: “Unlocking this potential will supercharge R&D and that’s why we’re making a step-change at Leeds in how we work with business.”

Beckie Hart