Innovate UK publishes delivery plan for the UK Innovation Strategy

Innovate UK have published their delivery plan for the UK Innovation Strategy, with the vision for the UK to become a global hub by 2035. This follows the UK government’s commitment to increase direct public expenditure on R&D to £22 billion per year. You can read the full plan here (68 pages). We have summarised key points and recent developments below:

Innovate UK & KTN will collaborate to deliver the Plan for Action for UK business innovation

From December 2021, Innovate UK & KTN will be combining skills and expertise in a joint partnership to deliver the Innovate UK Plan for Action. A joint working team of Innovate UK and KTN (now known as Innovate UK KTN) leaders, chaired by Indro Mukerjee, CEO, Innovate UK, will collaborate to ensure strategic alignment and effective delivery of the 2021-2025 Plan for Action.

What is the Innovate UK Plan for Action?

The 2021-2025 Plan for Action ‘Building the Future Economy’ details how Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN will help deliver the UK Government’s Innovation Strategy: Leading the future by creating it, and help the Government achieve its vision for the UK to be a global hub for innovation by 2035.

5 Key themes from the Plan for Action

The Plan focuses on five strategic themes and the foundations underpinning the themes. Each theme is detailed in turn in the Plan, with explanation of how the theme contributes to Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN’s basis of work over the next four years to support UK businesses in innovation.

Key points from each of the themes are:

Theme 1. Future economy

The report lists the following major opportunities for UK businesses:

  • net zero (zero carbon emissions and tackling wider adverse environmental impacts)
  • health and wellbeing (sustaining healthy human life, including nutrition and healthcare)
  • technologies (creating and benefiting from advances in technology)
  • horizon scanning and foresight (continually looking ahead)

Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN aim to understand the opportunities for businesses, identify the obstacles to realising them, decide whether public sector intervention is appropriate, and, if so, design and deliver co-ordinated programmes that recognise the challenges of systemic change and help companies overcome the barriers.

Theme 2. Growth at scale

Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN pledge to help companies of all sizes to grow by supporting businesses in:

  • accessing markets – including supporting more business-led collaboration that provides smaller businesses with access to the global supply chains of the future
  • preparing for and delivering growth at scale – including increased support from partners such as Innovate UK EDGE and Catapults
  • supply of growth capital – including embedding the use of investor partnerships and using innovation loans to support capital constrained SMEs.

Theme 3. Global opportunities

To help UK businesses to overcome barriers and enable engagement with innovation expertise and partners across the globe, Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN will:

  • help businesses to increase their access to international programmes, expertise and opportunities
  • help businesses to fully exploit opportunities offered by the Horizon Europe programme and our membership of the EUREKA
  • work with the Department for International Trade and devolved administrations to join up innovation and trade opportunities.

Theme 4. Innovation ecosystem

Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN will work with key organisations to ensure a well-functioning ecosystem that supports innovation from concept to commercialisation, adoption and reach.

Partners in the ecosystem will work together to enable:

  • Agility and responsiveness
  • Easy navigation
  • A national culture of innovation

Theme 5. Government levers

Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN will work with partners across government and the public sector to support:

  • Public sector procurement helping more companies get more products/services to market sooner
  • New standards, codes, and regulations to help shape future markets
  • More UK companies growing through helping government achievement policy objectives.

The Plan also highlights Seven technology families of particular UK strength and opportunity:

  • advanced materials and manufacturing;
  • AI, digital and advanced computing;
  • bioinformatics and genomics;
  • engineering biology;
  • electronics, photonics and quantum;
  • energy and environment technologies;
  • robotics and smart machines.

Grant funding will play a key role. Innovate UK has led funding for many of the technology developments including through its infrastructure programmes, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, and SMART awards. The UK has a successful track record in designing and delivering such programmes. For example, analysis of the Biomedical Catalyst found that £250 million of public money to 300 projects brought in more than £1.3 billion of new private investment through additional funding, licensing deals, or acquisition.

PNO is pleased to see the 2021-2025 Plan of Action – in particular, the confirmation of a continued focus on innovation, and the variety of support which will be available to help UK businesses overcome barriers, access financial support through grants and loans, and access expertise, to achieve innovations. With our involvement across regional, national and European R&D funding competitions, we see the beneficial effects that R&D and innovation support has across the UK and beyond.

Secure your R&D funding

PNO has extensive experience in supporting organisations in their innovation journeys and has an impressive success rate in helping organisations secure R&D funding. To find out more about how we can support your organisation across the entire grant acquisition process, please email or call 0161 488 3488.