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Government announces largest ever R&D budget

A £39.8 billion R&D budget for 2022-2025 aims to drive forward innovation and give businesses the confidence to invest, including a new £150 million series of loans for innovative SMEs.

The new three-year budget means public R&D spending is set to increase by £5 billion to £20 billion per annum by 2024-25.

The funding has already been allocated across government programmes and partner organisations, focusing on the priorities of the national Innovation Strategy, which was published last year.

A significant proportion of the budget has been allocated to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which will increase funding available to businesses through Innovate UK, the UK’s national innovation agency.

Announcing the R&D budget, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

“For too long, R&D spending in the UK has trailed behind our neighbours - and in this country, science and business have existed in separate spheres. I am adamant that this must change. My department’s £39.8 billion R&D budget – the largest ever R&D budget committed so far – will be deployed and specifically targeted to strengthen Britain’s comparative advantages, supporting the best ideas to become the best commercial innovations, and securing the UK’s position as a science superpower.”

Innovate UK has now launched a new three-year loan programme worth £150 million to support SMEs with innovative late-stage R&D projects. Businesses can apply for a loan of between £100,000 and £2 million, with flexible repayment terms to secure their future growth. Round 1 of applications close on 13 April 2022.

Projects supported by previous innovation loans have included portable freezers able to safely deliver vaccines to care homes and surgeries, and patented hospital screens preventing the transmission of pathogens and viruses.

Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said:

“The innovation loans scheme is just one of the services [dedicated] to growing and scaling businesses across the UK. Our wrap-around support now includes greater access to Innovate UK EDGE, a business advisory service; and Innovate UK KTN, [offering] more opportunity for businesses to connect with potential academic and business partners to help scale in the UK and abroad.”

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