UKRI needs to map the British research and innovation infrastructure to find out what is needed to keep Britain competitive in the next 10 to 15 years.
Last month, work began on the creation of the first national roadmap for research and innovation infrastructure in the UK. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the new UK research and innovation funding organization set up last year and due to open in April 2018, will be one of the first major projects to be completed. ,
The roadmap will play a key role in pursuing research and development opportunities in the UK and to better align them with UK industry strategy. It aims to identify strengths that can be harnessed while identifying the shortcomings of UK research and innovation infrastructure.
“UKRI was founded to put more emphasis on science and research and its commercialization, and to offer a common approach to interdisciplinary issues,” said Professor Sir Mark Walport, UKRI Managing Director. “Our goal is to enhance collaboration within the research base and to ensure that a highly skilled and diverse workforce is available to advance the commercialization of discovery.”
The new Minister for Universities and Science, Sam Gyimah, said at the start of the roadmap, “The promotion of research, development and innovation is at the heart of the government’s new industrial strategy. That’s why we’ll invest 2.3 billion pounds more in 2021-22.”
The Minister emphasized what he saw as strengths of the UK research base. “From RRS Discovery to UK Biobank and Diamond Light Source to UK data archives, the UK is known worldwide for its scientific capabilities.
“For the first time, we will map this infrastructure to showcase these capabilities around the world and identify future opportunities.”
Gyimah also pointed out, “Nothing in the UK has ever tried this scale and scale, but that is precisely why UKRI has created the skills and know-how necessary to carry out this work of crucial importance.
During the launch, Sir Mark said of the road map: “One of the main tasks of the UKRI is to ensure that British companies and researchers are ready to seize the opportunity of the industry, so I am very pleased to be involved in the development of the important research and innovation infrastructure at national and international level in the UK. ”
Sir Mark said the roadmap design “would allow us to make the most of our existing infrastructure and find what we need to stay competitive over the next 10 to 15 years”.
In addition to large scientific facilities and large-scale facilities, the roadmap will include other resources, including collections, archives, scientific data, online infrastructures such as computer and communications systems. and to secure the United Kingdom’s position in science and innovation.
Sir Mark: “UKRI’s goal is to create a long-term roadmap for research and innovation based on an understanding of existing UK infrastructure, future needs and the resulting investment priorities.
In addition to setting priorities for research and innovation capacity, the roadmap will also be used to promote the UK as a world leader in research and innovation.
The preliminary results of the roadmap activities, which are structured in key sectors, will be published in November 2018 and the final report will be available in spring 2019.
“The UK does not have a complete picture of its infrastructure landscape, even if there are understandings,” said Bryony Butland, director of the UKRI Infrastructure Roadmap Program.
According to Butland, the landscape is complex and diverse, covering all types of disciplines, locations and sectors.
“The roadmap will evaluate the disciplines covered, as well as the kit and the tools available, and we look at unique websites, distributed and virtual installations, and various business models.”
Butland stressed that the United Kingdom’s involvement in international cooperation would also be part of the roadmap. “This is an important part of the landscape that we also want to cover.”
Butland added that the roadmap would serve to create a cycle for future roadmaps with the aim of building a broader view of facilities and capacity for a wider audience in the UK and beyond.
Gyimah acknowledged that research and innovation in the UK are facing “real challenges”.
“Although I have only been in office for a few weeks, I know very well – and have received clear messages – which areas need help and which are considered as important priorities,” he said.
“We need to invest in both research and innovation, and I agree that, despite concerted efforts, R & D by companies in this country remains low by international standards. Our goal is to reduce R & D spending to 2.4%. GDP, and this is a big challenge. ”
Regarding the impact of Brexit, the minister said he was “deeply aware” of the importance of reaching the best possible agreement after Brexit, which enabled, promoted and deepened the UK’s close ties. United with the scientific community.
“Although it’s important to have a plan, it should not be too rigid, and the best plans tend to be dynamic and allow for changes and adjustments.”
Sam Gyimah, University and Minister of Science
“We must welcome the best minds in the world,” he said, pointing out that the UK must also train the “next generation” of researchers and innovators. “It is important that we make the most of the considerable potential of the United Kingdom,” he said.
To this end, the card will not only identify innovation infrastructures of national importance, but will also be used by UKRI to raise awareness of the diversity of the landscape in all regions in order to make research and innovation more effective.
Bottom left: Diamond Light Source is the national scientific facility of the synchrotron in the United Kingdom. Bottom right: The Francis Crick Institute examines the science behind health and disease.