04 Aug 2021

UK Innovation Strategy – Highlights & Summary

Matt Symonds

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy have launched the latest Government UK Innovation Strategy to highlight their priority areas and the beginning of the roadmap to make the UK a global hub for innovation by 2035.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the importance of rapid innovation to the forefront of everyone’s mind, including the UK Government. As we look forward to the future, the UK Government’s priority is to build back better through innovation, while implementing the lessons learnt from the UK’s rapid reaction to creating a COVID-19 vaccination.

Next Steps

The UK Innovation Strategy sets out the first steps in the plan for the UK to build back better and innovate, with their 4 pillars:

Pillar 1: Unleashing Business – We will fuel businesses who want to innovate.

  • Increase annual public investment on R&D to a record £22 billion.
  • Reduce complexity for innovative companies by developing an online finance and innovation hub between Innovate UK and the British Business Bank.
  • Invest £200 million through the British Business Bank’s Life Sciences Investment Programme to target the growth-stage funding gap faced by UK life science companies.
  • Consult on how regulation can ensure that the UK is well-placed to extract the best value from innovation.
  • Form a new Business Innovation Forum to drive implementation of this Strategy.

Pillar 2: People – We will make the UK the most exciting place for innovation talent.

  • Introduce new High Potential Individual and Scale-up visa routes, and revitalise the Innovator route to attract and retain high-skilled, globally mobile innovation talent.
  • Support, through Help to Grow: Management, 30,000 senior managers of small and medium-sized firms to boost their business’ performance, resilience, and growth.

Pillar 3: Institutions & Places – We will ensure our research, development, and innovation institutions serve the needs of businesses and places across the UK.

  • Undertake an independent review, led by Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Paul Nurse, Director of the Francis Crick Institute, looking across the landscape of UK organisations undertaking all forms of research, development, and innovation.
  • Allocate £127 million through the Strength in Places Fund to develop R&D capacity and support local growth across the UK.
  • Invest £25 million of funding to the Connecting Capability Fund to help drive economic growth through university-business innovation.

Pillar 4: Missions & Technologies – We will stimulate innovation to tackle major challenges faced by the UK and the world and drive capability in key technologies.

  • Establish a new Innovation Missions programme to tackle some of the most significant issues confronting the UK and the world in the coming years.
  • Identify the key seven technology families that will transform our economy in the future.
  • Launch new Prosperity Partnerships to establish business-led research projects to develop transformational new technologies, with £59 million of industry, university, and government investment.


The Strategy states that “Boosting innovation in the private sector is an essential part of the UK’s future prosperity and key to achieving UK objectives to be a force for good on global challenges around climate, biodiversity, prosperity, and security.”

In 2020/21 Innovate UK awarded £986 million, supporting over 4,500 organisations. The programmes they deliver creates £7 of economic benefit for every £1 of public investment – an incredible return on investment for the UK Government.

With an annual increase in R&D funding to £22 billion, innovative organisations in the UK are going to benefit greatly from the increased spending that will come from UKRI and all of their research councils.

Matt Symonds, Managing Director of TBAT Innovation says, “The increase of R&D expenditure to £22 billion a year is a welcome addition. Innovate UK’s spending last year was unprecedentedly high due to the COVID-19 pandemic and led to the realisation of new processes to make the process quicker and more effective in response to the urgent need for funding.

This strategy for the UK to build back better offers TBAT the opportunity to help even more businesses turn their innovative ideas into reality through being awarded funding.”

Review the latest Grant Funding opportunities on our Grant Funding Finder. Our expert consultants are available to discuss your project idea in detail and help you find the most suitable competition to maximise your chances of being successfully funded, simply get in touch.

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