To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take to ensure that the Government's target of increasing research and development funding to 2.4 per cent of GDP benefits the areas with the poorest health outcomes, particularly parts of the north of England.
The 2.4% R&D Roadmap will set overall direction for how we can achieve the 2.4% R&D ambition by 2027, and 3% in the longer term, through the use of strategic public funding to leverage private R&D investment.
It aims to transform R&D intensity across all sectors of the economy, supporting the development of new technologies, industries, and products that bring growth, good jobs across the UK, and social improvements for all.
The 2.4% R&D Roadmap will bring together Government, academia, and industry to collaboratively focus their efforts on increasing R&D investment. In the area of health, this includes the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS R&D activity, and work with industry in taking forward the Life Sciences Sector Deal. The 2.4% R&D Roadmap will also align closely with the Industrial Strategy’s Grand Challenges. This includes the Ageing Society Grand Challenge which will create new demands for technologies, products and services for an ageing population, and the AI and Data Grand Challenge which will use data, artificial intelligence, and innovation to transform the prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and dementia by 2030.
In order to achieve the 2.4% R&D target, we need to accelerate the growth and build on R&D strengths across the UK. The Government has put in place a number of initiatives to support every part of the UK to identify and leverage their R&D strengths, from Science and Innovation Audits to the Strength in Places Fund. The Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) is investing £237m up to 2021-22 in growing new and existing centres of excellence for research and innovation across the UK.
We are working with Local Economic Partnerships as they develop Local Industrial Strategies to identify science and innovation strengths and the action needed to unlock R&D growth in places across the country.