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The Industrial Strategy - opportunities for researchers

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29 November 2017

Following the publication of the UK Government's Industrial Strategy (Monday 27 November), PolicyBristol has summarised the key announcements, funding and policy engagement opportunities for researchers

University governance

  • UKRI to develop a new Knowledge Exchange Framework to benchmark knowledge sharing and research commercialisation (to sit alongside existing REF; TEF; Student Outcomes Framework).
  • Change to immigration rules to enable world-leading scientists and researchers endorsed under the Tier 1 route to apply for settlement after three years.

National Funding

  • Raise total research and development (R&D) investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027.
  • Invest £725m in new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programmes over four years, with new programmes in:
    • Clean Growth (Transforming construction, up to £170m; Prospering from the energy revolution; Transforming food production)
    • AI and data (Audience of the future, up to £33m; Next generation services, up to £20m)
    • Ageing Society (Data to early diagnosis and precision medicine, up to £210m; Healthy ageing)
  • Develop with UKRI a new competitive Strategic Priorities Fund, to support high quality R&D priorities (multidisciplinary and inter-disciplinary); UKRI to deliver real-terms increase in budgets of ~20% between 2015/16 and 2019/20, and invest around £8bn per annum by 2020.
  • Further £44m of grant funding for Innovate UK to fund £150m of responsive grant competitions in 2017/18.
  • (ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE) Establish a £10m Regulators’ Pioneer Fund on innovative approaches to regulating emerging technologies; £45m to support additional PhDs in AI and related disciplines.
  • (ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE) £9m for new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, to review governance/advise.
  • Investing £20m in a new Institute of Coding, formed through a consortium of universities and employers.
  • New £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund; £100m new funding for the plug-in car grant; £40m R&D (matched by industry) for new charging technologies.
  • Invest £5m from 5G Testbeds and Trials programme for 2018 trial of 5G applications and deployment on roads.
  • Initial £25m competition for projects in different industry sectors, building on £16m investment in 5GUK test network facility. Further £160m in new 5G infrastructure; £200m in the Local Full-fibre Networks Challenge Fund (£10m to pilots, including a £2m pilot voucher scheme Bristol, Bath and north-east Somerset),
  • Innovate UK to pilot new ways of financing innovation - £50m Innovation Loans pilot to projects on the cusp of commercialisation; Investment Accelerator pilot to bring in seed equity alongside grant funding
  • Increase of £40m a year to HEIF to a total of £250m a year by 2020-21 to align with the Industrial Strategy.
  • Increase the National Productivity Investment Fund to £31bn to invest in transport, housing, digital infrastructure.

Bristol/regional funding and strategy

  • Develop Local Industrial Strategies – Universities and other local institutions will be key, with first Strategies agreed by March 2019. Places with a Mayoral Combined Authority will have a single strategy.
  • New Transforming Cities fund to provide £1.7bn for intracity transport; half of funding to the six combined authorities with elected metro mayors.
  • New competitive £115m Strength in Places Fund for areas to build on science and innovation strengths/support collaboration (themes for South West England are Advanced Engineering and Digital Innovation).
  • Devolve the adult education budget to mayoral areas in 2019.
  • New £115m per annum Strength in Places Fund to build on existing areas of excellence, fund collaborative programmes from universities, local employers, and Local Enterprise Partnerships.
  • Skills Advisory Panels to analyse current/future supply and demand for skills, working with Mayoral Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships. 
  • £12m fund for 2018/19 and 2019/20 to boost the Mayoral Combined Authorities capacity and resources. 

New bodies

  • Creation of an Industrial Strategy Council to assess, evaluate, make recommendations on Industrial Strategy.
  • Establish an Industry-led AI council to work with six priority sectors (cybersecurity; life sciences; construction; manufacturing; energy; agricultural technology).
  • Create a new regulator, the Office for Students (OfS) in January 2018, to address employer and student needs, consider skills gaps, and future needs.
  • New Geospatial Commission to provide strategic oversight of the various public bodies that hold this data. 

Influencing/evidence base

  • Appoint leading figures from industry and academia as expert advisors on each grand challenge, in early 2018.
  • Joint programme of work with the Office for National Statistics, academics and other stakeholders to improve understanding of the economy, and identify the gaps in our evidence base.
  • R&D competition on how simulated digital environments can support self-driving technology development
  • Launch ministerially-led reviews, starting with GovTech/regtech (creating new ways for citizens to engage with public services, including Blockchain/AI technologies) and quantum technologies.

You can also download this as a Industrial Strategy summary pdf (PDF, 531kB)

Further information

The Industrial Strategy policy paper can be found here. All Industrial Strategy documents and announcements can be found here.

If you are a researcher based at the University of Bristol and would like to find out more, please contact Anthea Terry, PolicyBristol Coordinator. 

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