comment on this article

That’s the way to do it

The news that China is set to increase its annual research and development spending by more than 7% every year over the next five years, brings into stark contrast the announcements, or lack of them, in this week’s UK Budget.

The Chinese government is set to increase expenditure on basic research by 10.6% in 2021, as it aims to boost next-generation artificial intelligence, quantum information, brain science, semiconductors, genetic research and biotechnology, clinical medicine and health, and deep space, deep sea and polar exploration.

The government also wants to establish more national laboratories to research quantum information and artificial intelligence.

It’s also looking to make it easier for domestic companies to go public and to help foreign-funded companies set up R&D centres in China.

While the UK Budget recognised the potential of the UK’s high-growth, innovative technology companies alongside the importance of additional government investment in the green industrial revolution some have questioned its ambition and scale.

According to Prof Sarah Main, Executive Director, Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE): “There was no provision for the UK’s agreed participation in Horizon Europe, expected to cost around £2bn per annum, no specific measures to alleviate COVID pressure on UKRI’s budget, or support for research charities. Meeting these costs from the existing science budget would have an impact across the UK’s science and research activity.”

Consultations on R&D tax credits and on unlocking pension funds to invest in R&D and innovation were welcomed as was the support for small businesses navigating the visa system for the first time – but are these developments sufficient in scale to address the problems we face here in the UK?

The pandemic and, although we might want to, don’t forget Brexit, have constituted a massive shock to the UK economy and the question for many is did this week’s Budget really deliver the vision and the necessary funding that the UK needs?

Neil Tyler

Comment on this article

This material is protected by MA Business copyright See Terms and Conditions. One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not. For multiple copies contact the sales team.

What you think about this article:

Add your comments


Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Related Articles

Worrying times

News that UK companies might be shut out of the Galileo programme raises ...

Software and security

Last month Embedded World once again demonstrated why it’s described as the ...

Close to the edge

“We are entering a new era where artificial intelligence systems are helping to ...

Back to the future

More governments around the world are now looking at the possibility of ...

Getting real with VR

Professor Robert Stone has been involved in the world of virtual, augmented and ...