A new report says that many 联合王国 regions including the North of England have been missing out on £4bn a year in public investment into R&D compared with the rest of the country.
Co-authored by Richard Jones, Professor of Materials Physics and Innovation 政策 at 英国曼彻斯特大学 and published by innovation foundation Nesta, the study argues that the 联合王国’s regional imbalances in economic performance are exacerbated by regional imbalances in R&D spending.
The Missing £4 Billion: Making R&D work for the whole of the 联合王国 说，有在英国的两个经济体。而很多伦敦，英格兰东南部及英格兰东部地区有一个高生产力，繁荣的知识型经济，在中部地区，北英格兰，大部分英格兰西南部和威尔士和北爱尔兰，我们的竞争对手背后的经济落后于北欧。
It says that while the 联合王国’s research base has many strengths, some truly world leading, three main shortcomings currently inhibit it from playing its full role in economic growth. Firstly it is too small for the size of the country. Secondly it is relatively weak in translational research and industrial R&D. And thirdly it is too geographically concentrated in already prosperous parts of the country.
Increased R&D spend
The report says the UK government’s goal of increasing R&D intensity to 2.4 per cent of GDP, combined with the widely observed 2:1 ratio of private to public funding for total R&D, implies that 联合王国 public sector funding will increase from 0.55 per cent of GDP today to at least 0.75 per cent of GDP.
It adds that this substantial increase in total spending gives us as a rare opportunity to change how R&D funding is assigned without creating any losers, and that there should be a substantial regional devolution of innovation funding to remedy the regional imbalance in government R&D spending.
Among a number of recommendations the report says 25 per cent of the uplift in public R&D funding should, in principle, be devolved to nations, regions and cities. To achieve this, English cities and regions that can demonstrate the capacity to allocate R&D funding wisely should receive devolved funding through innovation deals.
It also recommends that cities and regions should consider using their devolved funding to establish translational research centres which work with local economies to support national missions. New institutions should also be set up in a way that creates new poles for innovation and productivity growth, attracting new private sector investment as well as supporting the existing business base. Government departments should also take more account of the regional distribution of their R&D spending – for example, through the National Institute of Health 研究 – and be more responsive to the research agendas and needs of the 联合王国’s regions and nations outside London and the South East.