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The recommendation to set a clear budget for increasing R&D spending to 2.4 per cent of GPD by 2027 comes in a five-point plan issued by the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE). Other recommendations for the first three months of Johnson’s premiership include extending visa periods for graduates and using diversity data to address skills shortages.
The Government has previously spoken of its ambition to use research and innovation to transform the UK economy through its new Industrial Strategy, and has set a target to increase R&D investment in the UK to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027 and 3 per cent in the long term.
CaSE is warning that transforming the UK economy in this way will require “ambitious and coordinated” Government action, including a significant uplift in public investment in R&D. It believes that an immediate focus on five key action points would set the country on the way by increasing public investment, incentivising private investment and investing in people and skills. These five points are:
According to CaSE, a plan and a budget that attracts cross-Government support and global attention would be invaluable in establishing a scientifically-enabled economy and giving businesses the confidence they need to invest in the UK.
CaSE has spoken previously of its belief that aligning immigration policy with plans to increase research activity is an essential aspect of achieving the UK’s tech ambitions and has been campaigning for changes to the UK visa system for several years.
It welcomed the announcement earlier in 2019 of changes to visa regulations for researchers that would exempt PhD-level occupations from the cap on high-skilled visas, and overseas research activity considered as continuous residence in the UK when researchers apply for settlement. It also backed plans unveiled this month for a fast-track visa system to help attract overseas scientists and innovators to the UK.
This article first appeared on eandt.theiet.org
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