Spring Budget 2017

In the 2016 Autumn Statement, it was announced that £4.7 billion from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) would be allocated to encouraging R&D. The Spring Budget confirmed the first investments.

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) will support collaborations between business and the UK’s science base. An initial investment of £270 million has been put in place to ‘kick-start the development of disruptive technologies that have the potential to transform the UK economy’. The technologies the fund will focus on initially are:

  • Developing new medicine manufacturing technologies which should thereby accelerate patient access to new drugs and treatments, improving public health.
  • Leading the world in tackling air pollution through developing, designing and manufacturing batteries that will power the next generation of electric vehicles.
  • Development of artificial intelligence and robotics systems operating in off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining among other extreme and hazardous environments. 

Talent funding

The NPIF is investing £250 million to grow the base of highly-skilled research talent available to help create a growing and innovative economy. It will be divided as follows:

  • £90 million will provide an additional 1,000 PhD places within the Industrial Strategy. Around 85% will be in disciplines related to Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics and 40% will directly help strengthen collaboration between business and academia through industrial partnerships.
  • The remaining £160 million will support new fellowships for researchers in areas connected to the Industrial Strategy.

Global research talent

An investment of over £100 million will be mad to help maintain the UK’s position as a world-leader in Science and Research by attracting the most intelligent people in those fields to the UK, including:

  • £50 million of the NPIF funding for fellowship programmes attracting world-wide talent.
  • Over £50 million from existing international funds supporting fellowships that attract researchers to the UK from emerging research powerhouses such as India, China, Brazil and Mexico.

Research and Development (R&D) Tax Review

The Budget also revealed that a review of the R&D tax regime found that the tax credits regime is effective, internationally competitive and supports innovation. The government will however make some administrative changes to increase the ‘certainty and simplicity’ regarding claims and will improve awareness of R&D tax credits among SMEs. The government has stated that it will ‘keep the competitiveness of the UK environment for R&D under review to ensure that the UK is profoundly pro-innovation.’

To read the full Spring Budget, click here.

If you have any further questions about these announcements, please get in touch with one of our attorneys. 


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