Government announces extra £2bn investment in research

In collaboration with the Press Association

The Government has announced an additional £2 billion will be spent on research and development by 2020. 

“The Prime Minister has indicated that science and innovation is a key priority for this Government, which is very welcome news" - Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK

Prime Minister Theresa May revealed the funding boost, which forms part of the Government’s new Industrial Strategy, at the CBI Annual Conference. 

Government spending on research for this year is set at £5.9 billion. And plans were to increase this to £6.3 billion by 2020. 

But today’s announcement suggests that funding will now rise closer to £7.9 billion.  

Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, welcomed the announcement and said the Prime Minister “has indicated that science is a key priority for this Government”.  

May also announced a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which will direct some of the £2 billion into priority technologies – such as robotics and biotechnology. 

She said the money has been earmarked for areas of research where the UK is strong and has the potential to commercialise the science. But it’s not yet clear how the money will be allocated.

Cancer Research UK’s Sir Harpal Kumar added that this decision will require consultation. 

“It’s important that Government works with industry and charities to ensure the additional £2 billion investment committed today is spent effectively to strengthen UK science,” he said.

The Prime Minister also committed to review the support that is given to firms through the tax system, which could help encourage more companies to invest in UK science.

“It is not about propping up failing industries or picking winners, but creating the conditions where winners can emerge and grow,” the Prime Minister said.