The UK is a world leader in R&D and now is the time to play to our strengths. Investment in R&D helps raise business productivity, create high value jobs and solve national challenges. But persistent low investment is holding back innovation and hampering productivity. It’s time for change.
We’re calling on the government to create the right conditions for raising R&D investment to 3% of GDP. The UK needs definitive plans on how to achieve this target, alongside practical funding support from government.
Develop a roadmap for how the UK will reach the 3% target
Increase funding of collaborative R&D through Innovate UK and catapult centres
Continue participation in EU Research and Innovation programmes
Electric flight, 3D printing, precision medicine, self-driving vehicles, the Internet of Things, quantum technologies. Game-changing innovations like these will shape the course of the next decade. Many will improve lives in the UK and across the globe.
And at an organisational level? Productive, innovative businesses increase their competitive advantage, are more likely to export goods and services, and are more likely to do so successfully.
However, R&D investment has stagnated at 1.7% for 30 years at a time when the rest of the world is speeding up. Our stalling performance prevents UK businesses from taking advantage of the growth and competitive opportunities that arise from innovation.
"The UK has always been home to great ideas, but for too long they have been developed, commercialised and adopted elsewhere first. At this moment of technological disruption, it’s time for the UK to put its money where its brain is."Felicity Burch, Director of Innovation and Digital, CBI
When it comes to the benefits of R&D, the numbers are hard to argue with. Businesses that innovate are more likely to experience boosts in growth, productivity and turnover.
63% of the UK’s annual labour productivity growth 2000-08 was due to innovation.
Companies launching new products grow turnover by 10% in the following three years, compared to 5.8% for non-innovating firms.
Firms awarded with research grants grow their turnover and employment up to 28% faster than firms which did not receive grants.
The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.
CBI launches member consultation into R&D spend
Now is the time to innovate: the road to three percent
All parties adopt innovation targets
CBI submits evidence on EU funding for innovation
Planning for Brexit: safeguarding innovation
PM states intention to stay in EU science programmes
EU funding guaranteed to 2020
CBI responds to science and technology committee on 2.4% target
CBI 2018 Autumn Budget submission includes call to raise R&D spend to 3% GDP
Measures to boost R&D investment announced in 2018 Autumn Budget
CBI gives evidence to science and technology select committee
The UK can’t wait until 2053 for R&D spend to reach 2.4%
CBI welcomes R&D commitment and funding announcements
Driving R&D investment through the R&D tax credits system
CBI gives evidence on design of next EU funding programme for innovation
Select Committee echoes CBI priorities for R&D funding
Programme for prosperity: the business vision for the next government
Don’t wait, innovate
CBI sets out business priorities for new ARPA research agency
Government establishes new high-risk, high-reward independent research agency
Join the CBI
Our members are our mandate, and the reason we’re the most influential business organisation in the UK. Join the voice of business, and help us campaign to keep R&D spend a priority on the government agenda.Find out more
Have your say
With government committing to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, the CBI is investigating how government can support growth in business investment throughout the UK’s regions and nations. Share your views.Get involved
Make a difference
This campaign is led by the CBI's Innovation and Digital team.
Contact Felicity Burch, Director of Innovation, to find out about the progress UK business urgently needs to raise R&D spend and how you can support it.