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Huge increase in researcher numbers needed to hit R&D target

The UK will need up to 260,000 extra researchers by 2027 for the government to reach its target of spending 2.4 per cent of GDP on R&D, universities and science minister Chris Skidmore has said.

On 7 May, in the first of four speeches outlining how the 2.4 per cent target can be achieved, Skidmore admitted it would require “significant investment” to more-than-double total R&D spending from £35 billion each year to £60bn across the public and private sectors by 2027.

However, he warned that “it doesn’t matter how much money we pump into R&D over the years ahead” if there is no investment in researchers. “We need to find at least another 260,000 researchers to work in R&D across universities, across business and across industry,” he said, speaking at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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