ENU Research, Innovation and Enterprise Blog

UK Research and Development Roadmap

The UK Government published its new roadmap for Research and Development on 1st July 2020 : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-research-and-development-roadmap/uk-research-and-development-roadmap.
This Roadmap is the start of a conversation. They want to explore how we can build on the UK’s strengths, learn lessons from how the R&D world has responded to COVID-19, and ensure that we make the bold changes needed to ensure our system is fit for purpose now and for the future.

Through this Roadmap, they are asking how we can:

    • best increase knowledge and understanding through research, including by achieving bigger breakthroughs?
    • maximise the economic, environmental and societal impact of research through effective application of new knowledge?
    • encourage innovation and ensure it is used to greatest effect, not just in our cutting-edge industries, but right across the economy and throughout our public services?
    • attract, retain and develop talented and diverse people to R&D roles? How can we make R&D for everyone?
    • ensure that R&D plays its fullest role in levelling up all over the UK?
    • strengthen our research infrastructure and institutions in support of our vision?
    • most effectively and safely collaborate with partners and networks around the globe?
    • harness excitement about this vision, listen to a wider range of voices to ensure R&D is delivering for society, and inspire a whole new generation of scientists, researchers, technicians, engineers, and innovators?

Selected excerpts

International students who complete a PhD from summer 2021 can stay in the UK for three years after study to live and work. Students who have successfully completed undergraduate and master’s degrees will be able to stay for a further two years after study. We will continue to make these routes simpler and faster.

We need to ensure our excellence in discovery research, design, engineering, data science, and creative arts translates into commercial applications – increasing the productivity of our existing industries and creating new growth opportunities for the UK. We need to capture the opportunities provided by innovation, including those presented by the imperatives of decarbonisation and building climate resilience.

We need to optimise the support that the government provides to unlock innovation in the sectors and technologies that can drive the UK’s future growth and prosperity. “challenge-based” funding programmes like the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund may be the most appropriate lever to address the UK government’s top priorities, such as achieving net zero carbon emissions and supporting healthy ageing.

We will also work with devolved administrations, businesses, academics, universities, charities and local leaders on how we can ensure that more parts of the UK are attractive to private investment – including from overseas – to unlock their full potential for R&D growth.

We must embrace the potential of open research practices. First, we will require that research outputs funded by the UK government are freely available to the taxpayer who funds research. Such open publication will also ensure that UK research is cited and built on all over the world. We will mandate open publication and strongly incentivise open data sharing where appropriate, so that reproducibility is enabled, and knowledge is shared and spread collaboratively. Second, we will ensure that more modern research outputs are recognised and rewarded. For example, we will ensure that digital software and datasets are properly recognised as research outputs

The focus on publishing results in ‘top’ journals may be narrowing the research process. Most publicly funded research is published behind paywalls, with the underlying data unavailable. These practices slow down research and put its validity at risk, reducing trust and impact.

Contribute

Alongside this road map is the ability to contribute to the conversation. There are a number of topics which they are actively seeking feedback and opinions on: https://beisgovuk.citizenspace.com/innovation/r-and-d-survey/

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