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RCUK welcomes Prime Minister's CBI speech


In her first speech to the CBI Annual Conference today, Prime Minister Theresa May  has announced investment worth £2billion per year by 2020 for research and development.

Prof Philip Nelson, Chair of Research Councils UK, said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement today is a welcome confirmation of the importance of research and innovation to the UK. The increase worth £2 billion a year for research and development by 2020 will help to close the investment gap with our international competitors and reinforce the attractiveness of our research system for business partners.

“This commitment also highlights the opportunities presented by the proposed creation of UK Research and Innovation. The new organisation should allow the UK to tackle challenges across multiple research areas and to accelerate commercialisation by through seamless working with Innovate UK. As a first step, the Research Councils will be working alongside Innovate UK to develop and deliver the new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

“The full details of the Government’s commitment to increase research and development investment by £2 billion a year will become clear when the Chancellor makes the Autumn Statement on Wednesday and we look forward to engaging fully to ensure the UK is the best place in the world to research, innovate and to grow business.”

The Research Councils UK work closely with both Innovate UK and HEFCE, both organisations also commented on today’s announcement of increased investment in research and development.

Chief Executive of Innovate UK Dr Ruth McKernan said:

“The Industry Challenge fund will put business-led innovation at the heart of the industrial strategy. It will help deliver business growth for companies across the nations and regions, supporting the industries of tomorrow, boosting productivity in our existing areas of strength and help us realise commercial benefit from our world class research base.

 “As the business-facing part of UK Research and Innovation, we see this funding as a huge vote of confidence in the game changing opportunity for businesses right across the UK to foster a culture of innovation, so that no matter where you are, or your level of skills, you can be supported to get your innovative idea off the ground to grow and scale your business.” 

Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE’s Chief Executive, said:

"Universities are the driving force behind the nation’s research expertise. The extra investment in research and development announced today by the Prime Minister will help the UK to remain at the cutting edge of scientific and technological discovery and innovation.

"Universities work closely and productively with business and industry at local, national and global levels. This extra investment will stimulate new research fields, and provide opportunities for knowledge to be applied in partnership with business for long-term economic success.

"Universities are committed to providing the skilled workforce required to deliver on this new investment, and to achieve the commercial success that will put Britain at the forefront and technology and innovation.

"HEFCE will continue to work with Government, business and other partners to support universities to play their full part in realising this ambition."

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Further information

RCUK Communications Team
Tel: 01793 444387 or email:

Notes to editors

  1. Read the full press release: PM announces a £2 billion investment in research and development

  2. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils. Our collective ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business. The Research Councils are central to delivering research and innovation for economic growth and societal impact. Together, we invest £3 billion in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Our investments create new knowledge through: funding research excellence; responding to society’s challenges; developing skills, leadership and infrastructure; and leading the UK’s research direction. We drive innovation through: creating environments and brokering partnerships; co-delivering research and innovation with over 2,500 businesses, 1,000 of which are SMEs; and providing intelligence for policy making. Find out more about our work at

    The seven UK Research Councils are:

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