Response to the Autumn Statement 2016

23 November 2016

Responding to the Autumn Statement today, Director General of the Russell Group, Dr Wendy Piatt, said:

“We share the Chancellor’s ambition to bridge the productivity gap with greater investment in research and innovation. Our universities should be at the heart of an ambitious industrial strategy to boost productivity and create a resilient economy based on high-skilled jobs, innovation and cutting-edge research.

“The Prime Minister’s commitment to spending on R&D is very welcome and much needed as our universities face increasingly stiff competition from our international rivals who have benefited from greater levels of Government investment. The further detail in the Autumn Statement is good news – £4.7 billion of additional investment over the next Parliament will support the excellent research within our world-class universities and their continued collaboration with business.

“We look forward to responding to the Industrial Strategy Green Paper and building on the strength and success of our universities in research and innovation to drive growth across the UK.”

Notes to editors

  1. Our briefing Putting universities at the heart of the Industrial Strategy sets out how best to support our world-leading universities:
  • A roadmap to increase public and private sector investment in research to 3% of GDP.
  • A guarantee that high cost subjects such as Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) are properly resourced to meet the skills needs of a modern economy.
  • To encourage innovation by boosting HEIF and proof of concept funding.
  • Creating a new fund to back university and industry consortia while using the tax system to stimulate investment and university-business collaboration.
  1. The UK’s spending on research and development as a proportion of GDP was 1.70% in 2014. This is well below the EU average of 1.95%, the spending of 2.05% by China (up from 1.93% in 2012) and the US investment of 2.74% (up from 2.70% in 2012). All figures from OECD MSTI.

  2. Our report Engines of Growth: the impact of research at Russell Group universities and accompanying film highlight how research from Russell Group universities generates billions of pounds in returns to the UK economy, has an impressive impact on the health and quality of life of the nation and contributes to our rich cultural life and heritage.
  • We identified at least £21 billion worth of economic benefits from just a sample of research projects at our universities – a return of £100 for every £1 of initial investment.
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