More must be done to commercialise UK R&D

14 Mar 2017

The world-class research and development (R&D) carried out across UK universities needs more investment from British businesses, a new report by MPs indicates.

Stephen Metcalfe, MP and Science and Technology Committee Chair, says: “Without a healthy commercial demand for R&D, the scope for universities to engage more in technology transfer is limited.

"Progress on this front is disappointing. The overall R&D intensity of the UK business sector is still too low compared to other OECD countries. Encouraging British business to invest more in UK R&D should be a key goal of the Government's Industrial Strategy."

The Industrial Strategy, which renews the government's focus on commercialising innovation being carried out at institutions country-wide, is commended by MPs, but the report also highlights the fact that R&D tax credits, while a good incentive, are currently too complex, adding that government needs to reassess the scheme.

The report concludes that more needs to be done to support R&D in the UK, other than just the new UK Research and Innovation body and the Industrial Strategy Fund, calling on real progress to be made in overcoming obstacles.

Responding to the report, Felicity Burch, CBI Head of Digital and Innovation, says: “The UK lags behind competitors on R&D spending, so the Committee hits the right note in their call for more investment. In this, the private sector and Government both have a major role to play.

“Collaboration between businesses and universities can help the UK make a better job of not just delivering ground-breaking research here, but also commercialising those products.

“Making this a reality is a complex task and so the Committee rightly highlights the value of the R&D tax credit and grants to business.”

R&D tax credits – money back for innovation

R&D tax credits have proved to be a major boost to British business, but many are still unaware that they can claim the credits to help fund research and development, often incorrectly thinking that their on-going enhancement of existing products and services does not quality, because “it is just what we do”.

Having helped many businesses across a variety of sectors make significant ‘money back for research and development’ claims when some were previously unaware they could, we know first hand how important the R&D tax credit scheme is in encouraging innovation and increased spending on research and development activities by companies operating in the UK.

Our R&D tax credit specialists are therefore on hand to maximise the value of any potential claim and manage the often-complex process on your behalf.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you and your business, please contact Steve Govey or your usual Beavis Morgan Partner.