UK Innovation Strategy - PKF Francis Clark
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UK Innovation Strategy

Well, the grand unveiling of the UK Innovation Strategy was suffixed by another corker of a
slogan – ‘leading the future by creating it’. Perhaps not as catchy as ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ or ‘Hands, Face, Space’, but we must be in with a podium chance if there was an Olympic event for slogan writing…
(this is further demonstrated by a preponderance of slogans in the press release that unveiled the UK Innovation Strategy).

Anyway, away from the slogans and onto the content…

UK Innovation Strategy – headlines

Key aspects of the UK Innovation Strategy include:

  1. Focusing on boosting “private sector investment in Research and Development (R&D) across the whole of the UK and create the right conditions for all businesses to innovate so they have the confidence to do so”
  2. The government will specify innovation missions to set clear direction, urgency and pace on the issues confronting the UK that we want to tackle with the private sector in the coming years
  3. The government is also “outlining seven strategic technologies to prioritise and build on our existing R&D strengths, including clean technologies, robotics, genomics and AI, where the UK has globally competitive advantage and industrial strength”
  4. Four pillars “to support businesses and institutions at the cutting edge of innovation” (see below)

UK Innovation Strategy – four pillars

The UK governments plans are set out against four key pillars:

Pillar Example actions Page
Unleashing business
  • Increase annual public investment in R&D to a record £22 billion
  • Devise training to upskill the next generation of lenders, supporting them in their ability to assess risk when lending to innovative businesses
  • The Government will engage closely with pension funds and the investment industry to understand the scope for industry-led initiatives that take advantage of innovation investment opportunities
  • Establish £10 million innovation seed fund to provide early-stage patient capital for high-potential businesses
  • Reduce complexity for innovative companies by developing an online finance and innovation hub between Innovate UK and the British Business Bank within the next 12 months
  • The Gatsby Foundation will support centres of innovation to work with industry and training providers to expand industry’s capacity to forecast its emerging skills needs
  • UKRI, through Innovate UK, will develop a leadership role in identifying critical innovation emerging skills gaps and will be recognised as an authoritative voice on future skills implications for businesses
Institutions and Places
  • Develop a simpler way for businesses to understand and interact with the UKRI institutional structure. Undertake R&D FDI promotion activities to make sure a coherent and effectively targeted approach to attracting key companies and investors
Missions and Technologies
  • Establish a new Mission Innovation programme to tackle some of the most significant issues confronting the UK in the coming years
  • Identify the key seven technology families that will transform our economy in the future.  UK Innovation Strategy: Leading the future by creating it
  • Launch eight new Prosperity Partnerships to establish business-led research projects to develop transformational new technologies, with £59 million of industry, University and government investment

I confess I have only looked at the bare bones of the 116 page document but would recommend anyone interested in seeing the direction of travel for UK innovation funding and business support to have a read of the document (or at least the parts that are particularly relevant to them).

I was already aware of consultation on R&D Tax Credits and I am looking forward to seeing the results of that consultation.

PKF Francis Clark and innovative companies

We have for some time recognised the importance of innovative businesses to the local, national and international economy and have developed expertise in working with these businesses across a number of areas including:

  • Specialist tax services including R&D Tax Credits, Enterprise Investment Scheme/ Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme
  • Fund raising – including grants, loans and equity
  • Compliance and beyond – from setting up cloud-based accounts systems for start-ups/ early stage businesses to audit for more established companies

We look forward to continuing to work with those businesses and also helping others in what we genuinely hope will be the enactment of the UK Government’s vision for the “UK to be a global hub for innovation”. We see the South/ South West having significant potential to place a key role in this.

FEATURING: Doug Oakman
Doug works with owner managed businesses and is experienced in corporate restructuring and employee share schemes. Since graduating from Keele University with a first class… read more
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