From distinctive strengths in transport innovation in the West Midlands to leadership in the life sciences in the Liverpool City Region, regions across the UK have demonstrated excellence in R&D.
These strengths not only have a role in contributing to local and inclusive growth, but also in making the UK a more research-intensive nation. Recognising different local strengths, or indeed existing local capacity for research, will be vital in unlocking the potential of every region.
The government’s Industrial Strategy sets to directly tackle these differences through a focus on ‘places’ to ensure communities can prosper across the UK. The creation of UK Research and Innovation has already provided new opportunities to support local R&D, and new investments such as the Strength in Place Fund and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will aim to support areas of excellence and build research capacity across all four corners of the UK.
Strong evidence will be essential to inform policymaking and ensure that a place-based approach to research funding will in fact deliver the intended outcomes. As such, building on our programme of work on the UK Government’s ambition to increase research intensity, CaSE is now developing an evidence base about place-based regional R&D investment and local economic growth – specifically, the different kinds of interventions and options to maximise local economic impacts of R&D investment.
CaSE is well placed to build on this evidence base through our wide-ranging membership spread across the UK. We will be initiating a series of discussions across the regions to bring together representatives from academia, industry and local government to review areas such as the enablers and barriers of commercialisation of research, the structure of partnerships between organisations and the opportunities that R&D investment could bring for the local economy.