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Innovate UK
Innovate UK

Increasing economic impact from the research base

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Support

Innovate UK is focused on driving business growth – no surprise then that the majority of our funding (~80%) is directed towards companies. The remaining 20%, still a significant sum, goes into the UK research base – providing support to over 140 individual research base organisations to enable their participation in business-led collaborations.

But all of this funding, irrespective of the recipient, has the same aim which is to de-risk, enable and support innovation.

In fact, a closer look at Innovate UK’s portfolio reveals some interesting points:

Innovate UK's funding portfolio
Innovate UK's funding portfolio


  • Total project commitment to all partners is £3 billion
  • Innovate UK funding to industry partners only is £1.6 billion
  • Grant value to the research base is ~£700 million (this includes Research Council contributions)
  • Innovate UK contributes ~£400 million of this to the research base

(All figures quoted refer to live project commitment as of 1st April 2016)

Research organisations are key to Innovate UK projects

  • 55% of all projects involve research base partners (both by number and value)
  • 82% of collaborative projects involve the research base
  • Research Council co-funding represents ~40% of total grant value towards research base partners

While this is interesting (in my eyes at least), what does it actually tell us?

Industry projects involving the research base deliver more

Firstly, there is not a requirement for the majority of our collaborative projects to involve research base partners but as 82% do, it is clear that industry highly value the contributions the research base provides in these projects and it highlights the key role that Innovate UK plays in building these partnerships.

Other evidence supports this, as collaborative projects with two or more academic partners deliver more than twice the ROI than those with none – quite a difference!

Innovate UK helps maximise the commercial potential of research

Secondly, we have extremely strong relationships with each of the Research Councils and work in close partnership with them to help maximise the commercial potential of the research base.

These partnerships operate within all four of our sector areas (find out more in our current Delivery Plan) and across the full range of types of support from CR&D to Catalyst programmes and Innovation and Knowledge Centres.

Research innovators are spread throughout UK

Thirdly, as the map below shows, the strongest research base innovators exist right across the UK, in all regions of England and in the Devolved Administrations and as such forms a key part of our drive to support regional growth.

Top 50 funded research base institutions

Top 50 funded research base institutions

The UK’s research base is one of the best in the world

It goes without question that the UK’s research base is one of the best in the world - Innovate UK works to ensure that the innovation potential of this is maximised in terms of the translation and commercialisation of these opportunities and helps businesses better engage with the research base to stimulate UK business innovation.

We look forward to continue working with all stakeholders across the innovation ecosystem to ensure that these opportunities are realised.

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