EEF comment on Enterprise Research Centre R&D grant report

Lee Hopley Chief Economist EEF

Commenting on the Enterprise Research Centre report on the value added performance from R&D grants published recently, Ms Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:

“As policy makers grapple with some big questions on how the UK develops capabilities in leading-edge technology and gets more ambitious about innovation that can support productivity growth, whilst remaining part of important research partnerships in Europe, this research provides some of the vital pieces of the evidence puzzle on what works.

“The strong link between grant support to innovative companies and outcomes on sales, productivity and employment should guide how government thinks about dividing the pie for future support. Furthermore, the need to place some bets on emerging sectors  should be part of an ambitions future focussed industrial strategy, although we can’t focus solely on pushing the frontiers of knowledge without taking action to help laggard firms catch up with those at the frontier.

“As such, government backed support to close the gap between those firms at the technology frontier and those further back in the back has the potential to pay decent growth dividends for the UK economy, with strong gains on offer if manufacturers are a priority target.

“Deliberations on the final shape of industrial strategy and the upcoming Budget will shape future support for innovation companies and sectors in the UK. This research should provide an important steer on getting the right outcomes for long-term growth and value for money for the taxpayer.”