Research and Development Investment Opportunities in the UK
There has never been a better time to invest in Research and Development in the UK. The UK has clear, consistent and long-term R&D priorities across cutting-edge sectors, including life sciences, space and quantum, supported by record levels of public investment. Now is the time to capitalise on an R&D ecosystem that is supported by public expenditure to grow.
Investment opportunities and support are available – get in touch to be connected with our R&D sector and investment experts.
The UK Government's R&D budget by 2024-25, £5bn more than in 2021-22.¹
Every £1 of public investment in R&D leverages £2 of added private investment over time.³
How we can help
The Department for Business and Trade’s (DBT) close partnership with regional investment and economic development agencies in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland means it is well placed to be the gateway to help global businesses achieve their investment objectives in all parts of the UK.
The UK the second-largest investment destination in the world and we are committed to keeping it that way. Our international network provides a global reach in 170 countries.
We are your expert guides on your journey to invest in the UK. We offer free and confidential advice and services to inward investors, giving new investors the confidence to invest and helping existing inward investors to expand and grow—using the UK as your gateway to the world.
Why invest in UK R&D?
The UK's long history of innovation and commitment to world-leading R&D helps businesses and investors reach their full potential. R&D investment opportunities are available across sectors and the UK, including in life sciences, space and quantum.
The UK's life sciences sector is booming.
In 2021, the UK life science sector secured a total of £7 billion in equity financing, a greater than twelve-fold increase since 2012. UK scientists continue to be at the forefront of science and discovery, responsible for discovering around 25 per cent of the world's top 100 prescription medicines and leading the way in COVID-19 vaccines. Our plans for future growth are outlined in the Life Sciences Vision.
UK space is taking off.
The UK is leading the world in modern regulation of space activities, fit for the new commerical space age. The UK is home to the world's first quoted vehicle investing primarily in space tech businesses, Seraphim Space Investment Trust. As outlined in the National Space Strategy, now is the time to join a UK-wide space ecosystem that is boosting exports, attracting talent and investment and further integrating space data and technologies into daily life.
Quantum is enabling a step change in technological performance.
The UK has a thriving quantum ecosystem, nurtured by £1 billion of investment through the National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP) since 2014. We have regional centres of excellence with world-leading talent across the nation. From the National Quantum Computing Centre in Harwell to the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics in Glasgow, there are huge opportunities to translate ideas into economic value. The forthcoming National Quantum Strategy sets out the UK Government's objectives to sustain and build on the success of the UK's quantum sector.
The UK offers generous financial support and tax incentives for innovation in the UK.
Incentives include UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding through our Research Councils and Innovate UK, as well as research-led tax incentives such as Patent Box, R&D Tax Relief and R&D Expenditure Credit.
The UK Government's innovation agency, Innovate UK, can also help businesses access funding, connect with researchers and other collaborators, and find potential customers.
In addition, the UK invests £6 billion each year in research councils and universities, creating a research infrastructure that supports innovation to help new ideas grow.
Maximising your investment
The UK offers world-class talent, high investment and a robust, business-friendly environment to reliably invest. Our tax system is clear and competitive and offers a wide range of incentives, including an R&D expenditure tax credit offering up to 230 per cent for companies investing in R&D projects. Migration pathways attract the world's best and brightest. Our language, legal system, funding environment, time zone and lack of red tape helps make the UK one of the easiest markets to set-up, scale and grow.
Over half of all R&D business expenditure in the UK currently comes from foreign-owned companies.
1. GOV.UK. (n.d.). Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021: documents. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/autumn-budget-and-spending-review-2021-documents.
2. Global Innovation Index | Creating Healthy Lives-The Future of Medical Innovation (2019). Global Innovation Index | Creating Healthy Lives-The Future of Medical Innovation. [online] Global Innovation Index. Available at: https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/Home.
3. Mohanty, A. (2020). The relationship between public and private R&D funding. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Oxford Economics.