Research and Development funding for science and technology in UK

10 July 2013

The Science and Technology Committee commissioned the National Audit Office (NAO) to review Research and Development funding for science and technology in the UK: the NAO’s report is published today.

The NAO found that:
  • Between 1995 and 2011, overall annual spending on R&D increased in real terms by 37% (from just under £20 billion to just under £27 billion) and most of this growth was driven by UK businesses. However, spending declined between 2007 and 2010.
  • Between 1995 and 2011, the Government has progressively reduced the amount it spends on undertaking R&D itself through public research institutions but, at the same time, has increased the funding it provides to UK businesses.
  • UK business R&D spending is concentrated in a small number of very large firms, with the pharmaceuticals sector accounting for 28% of total UK business R&D spend. This sector is a key driver of innovation but the UK’s reliance on the sector is also a risk.
  • The UK receives a significant amount of R&D funding from the European Commission: between 2007 and 2013 the UK will have received around £4 billion from the Seventh Framework Programme.

The Committee is seeking suggestions for future inquiries on UK R&D funding. Respondents are encouraged to comment on the NAO’s review of R&D funding as well as the 2010 and 2013 Spending Reviews. In addition, views on public sector research establishments (PSREs) would be welcomed, and respondents may be interested in the memorandum from the Government Office for Science to the Committee on public sector research establishments (PSREs) (PDF PDF 279 KB)

Submitting written evidence

As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency, the Committee is piloting a new web portal for online submission of written evidence.

The personal information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purposes of attributing the evidence you submit and contacting you as necessary in connection with its processing. The Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act. We may also ask you to comment on the process of submitting evidence via the web portal so that we can look to make improvements. If you have any queries or concerns about the collection and use of this information or do not wish your details to be used for the purpose of collecting feedback, please advise the Committee providing your full name, address, and if relevant your organisation.

The Committee invites written submissions on these issues by midday on Wednesday 28 August 2013.

Each submission should:

  1. be no more than 3,000 words in length
  2. be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible
  3. have numbered paragraphs
  4. include a declaration of interests.

If you need to send a paper copy please send it to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
14 Tothill Street
London SW1H 9NB
Please note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
  • Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

Guidance on submitting evidence to Select Committees

Image: NAO

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