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R&D spending trails behind 2.4% target

Image: Tax Credits [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

The UK marginally increased its total R&D spending to 1.69 per cent of GDP in 2017, but is still a long way off the government’s goal of reaching 2.4 per cent by 2027.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics on 14 March show that the UK spent £34.8 billion on R&D in 2017, up by £1.6bn from the year before. However, the expenditure as a percentage of GDP increased only from 1.67 per cent in 2016 to 1.69 per cent in 2017.

The UK’s R&D spending as a percentage of GDP has steadily crawled upwards over the past few years, from 1.58 per cent in 2012 to 1.69 per cent in 2017. Nevertheless, the country’s spending level remains well below the European Union’s average of 2.07 per cent, with the UK sitting in 11th place.

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