New jobs and billions to UK economy from innovation grants11 September 2017

Innovation grants from government Innovation grants from government have created an extra 150,000 jobs

Independent research finds funding from bodies like Innovate UK significantly boost jobs, turnover and productivity.

Innovation grants from government have created an extra 150,000 jobs and stimulated growth worth £43 billion turnover for the UK companies involved, according to research from Enterprise Research Centre (ERC).

The study – called ‘Assessing the business performance effects of engagement with publicly-funded science’ – looked into research and development grants over a 13-year period. It tracked the impact of grants totalling £8 billion, which went to nearly 15,000 firms. Included in this number were grants from Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Main findings show that across all grant recipients employment grew by six per cent in the short-term and 23 per cent in the longer-term (after six years) and that turnover grew by six per cent in the short term, and 28 per cent in the longer term. It also revealed that an estimated 150,000 new jobs were created, many in highly-skilled sectors such as biotechnology, medical equipment, engineering, life sciences and high-tech manufacturing, while productivity grew by six per cent in the longer term.

Speaking at the ERC Annual State of Small Business Britain Conference, Innovate UK deputy chief executive, Kevin Baughan said: “Innovate UK welcomes this latest research, which highlights the strong, positive impact that public research and innovation grants are having on UK businesses, and on the wider UK economy.

“This provides a strong foundation from which to build on our ambitions for the future. For example, enabling businesses to build more effectively on the world-class research base through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund; transforming existing industries and creating completely new ones; and accelerating the deployment of patient capital by bringing venture capital match funding alongside Innovate UK grant funding.”

Government has committed an extra £2 billion a year for research and development by the end of the current parliament, taking the total spend to £4.7 billion. This will be partly funnelled through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which aims to tackle the biggest societal challenges facing the UK and support high-growth sectors.

Mark Venables

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