Public Accounts Committee

Research and Development funding across government inquiry

Inquiry status: open

The Public Accounts Committee will examine Research and Development funding across government on Wednesday 31 January 2018.

Scope of the inquiry

In 2016, the Government announced plans to provide an extra £4.7 billion of funding for Research and Development (R&D) by 2021. Several departments are involved in funding this work, with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy taking most responsibility.

A recent National Audit Office report identified risks that bodies funding R&D did not have sufficient data on funding gaps and research outcomes to be sure that national priorities were being met. This was by no means a universal picture with some areas, such as human health research, performing well, whilst others like robotics investment did not yet have an established strategy.

The report also raised concerns that Brexit could affect future UK research funding. The UK received €8.8 billion in EU research funding between 2007 and 2013 and UK Government did not yet have a clear picture of how funding priorities might need to change post-Brexit.

In April 2018 a new body, UK Research and Innovation, will come into being to bring together existing research organisations including Research Councils. The Committee will be asking the incoming Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation about how the new organisation can help shape the direction and strategy of UK research priorities. The Committee will also hear from the Department of Health, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Government’s interim Chief Scientific Adviser.

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