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Funding must strengthen bridge from public to private sector

The first steps towards commercialising research are the hardest. Public funders must be willing to take risks, says Ian Taylor.

It was no surprise that the recent budget channelled money towards the goals of the government’s industrial strategy. The headline announcement of £1.6 billion to invest in projects ranging from nuclear fusion to quantum computing may not have included much new money, but it signalled the government’s intent.

Another of the government’s ambitions is to raise total R&D investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP from the current 1.7 per cent. Reaching this target will require a large increase in industry R&D. To make this a reality, the UK needs a national research and innovation infrastructure that bridges the gap between the public and private sectors, with more emphasis on how public spending leverages private investment.

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