In 2016 the UK government announced its intention to publish a National Innovation Plan. Innovate UK represents an integral part of the plan. Innovate UK is an agency that works with individuals, companies and research councils and other partner organisations to search out and support science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy to create profit and new employment opportunities. Innovate UK staff meet with innovators, fund the strongest ideas, connect innovators with the research partners they need to succeed and help innovators to launch and grow successful businesses.
Since 2007, Innovate UK has invested £1.8 billion in innovation, which has been more than matched by the private sector. This investment has returned approximately twelve billion pounds sterling to the economy through its support of seven thousand six hundred organisations, creating approximately fifty-thousand new jobs.
Pioneering UK businesses are strongly supported to create the industries of the future. With a strong business focus and a track record of driving growth by working with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation, Innovate UK creates a stronger position to attract investment, facilitating access to investors, researchers, collaborators, customers and export markets.
The main sectors for UK innovation are currently:
With a strong foundation of success of innovation in the UK, the focus is now on driving productivity growth. The current aims (2016/17) are:
The UK Government has announced its intention to create ‘Research UK’ a new body incorporating the seven UK research councils, and hopes to integrate Innovate UK into this new body as they have years of collaborative experience with research councils who are key to innovation projects.
There is not a requirement for the majority of Innovate UK projects to involve research base partners but as eighty-two percent do, it is clear that industry highly value the contributions the research base provides in these projects. This is confirmed by the fact that collaborative projects with two or more academic partners deliver more than twice the return on investment than those with none.
Strong research base innovators exist right across the UK, in all regions of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, providing potential regional growth. The UK’s research base is one of the best in the world, continually working and improving practices to ensure that the innovation potential is maximised for economic success and continued growth.