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UK must win more global R&D cash, says Byrne

The UK needs to attract a bigger share of global R&D spending while at the same time better supporting its regional economies, Labour's shadow science minister will say in a speech to the Institute of Public Policy Research.

In his speech on 9 December, setting out his agenda as shadow science minister, Liam Byrne is expected to dub the goal a “double-shift” for science.

Referencing Harold Wilson’s famous 1963 speech on the “white heat” of the technological revolution, Byrne will argue that the UK needs a bigger share of global R&D to happen within its borders. He’ll say that the last record from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on global R&D showed that 1,400 companies controlled 50 per cent of global R&D spending, and suggest that the UK forge more partnerships with private companies to get them to invest more in the country. This especially applies to China, he will argue, listing Chinese companies such as Huawei, China Mobile or China Aerospace as some of the biggest R&D spenders in the world.

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