The UK government will invest in a stimulus package that that has foreseen an extra £4.745 billion for science and innovation in the next four years.
The money for research and innovation will come from a new National Productivity Investment Fund, which will invest £23 billion from 2017-22, mostly on housing and transport and telecoms infrastructure.
Some of the extra funding for R&D will come from a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to be overseen by Innovate UK. The fund is supposed to target priority technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, industrial biotechnology and advanced materials manufacturing.
The rest will be devoted to innovation, applied science and research. All the extra money will be distributed through UK Research and Innovation, a new centralised public grant funding agency that brings together seven formerly independent research councils with Innovate UK, the country’s technology transfer and commercialisation body.
The move is due to the lower than expected growth in the lead-up to Brexit and beyond, with forecasts looking much grimmer than the positive outlook before the referendum vote to leave the EU five months ago.
The extra spending was broadly welcomed by scientists and industry, who have been campaigning for the UK to remain member of the EU, as they fear uncertainties especially in terms of funding in view of Brexit.