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Three cheers, three concerns

Image: Chris Bain, via Shutterstock

Stephanie Smith looks at the good things and the unaddressed issues in yesterday's budget

Three great things from the budget

  1. The headline increase to £22 billion is unprecedented. Even if we factor in commitments already made by previous governments in 2016 and 2017, the announcement today means an additional £9bn added to the R&D budget by 2024-25. That should put us on a clear trajectory to spending 2.4 per cent of GDP on R&D by 2024-25, a full three years ahead of the government’s target date of 2027.
  2. That’s good news for our negotiations on association to EU research and innovation programmes. The UK currently wins around £1bn a year from Horizon 2020, but any future deal is expected to be on the basis of the UK paying into EU funds what it takes out. An uplift of £9bn by 2024 should leave plenty of headroom for collaboration with the EU, while boosting investment elsewhere.
  3. The long-term commitment made today sets us on a trajectory that will go a long way to boosting business confidence in the UK’s long-term R&D prospects. It will also go a long way to helping universities and others leverage in the investment needed to get us to 2.4 per cent.

And three things to watch out for

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