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Throughout 2021, scientists and researchers will have access to more public funding than ever before, with an extra £250 million coming their way. 

This takes the total government investment in research and development (R&D) to £14.9 billion in 2021/22, following four years of significant growth in R&D funding, including a boost of more than £1.5 billion in 2020/21.

Rebuilding a post-COVID Britain

UK Government R&D spending is now at its highest level in four decades. The investment reinforces the government’s commitment to putting R&D at the centre of plans to rebuild after the coronavirus pandemic.

It will support vital and pioneering research while giving the scientists, researchers and businesses access to the world’s largest collaborative research programme, Horizon Europe — worth around €95 billion over the next decade.

The UK will associate with Horizon Europe as part of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) with the EU. The government will pay a fair and appropriate share of the programme’s budget to further science and research collaborations with its European partners. Horizon Europe will be at least 20% larger than the previous framework programme.

Along with the £14.6 billion budget for R&D in 2021/22 set at the recent Spending Review, the government will be providing funding for ongoing UK research projects already awarded under Horizon in 2020, which is worth over £500 million.

New for 2021: the ARIA

In March, the government announced the new Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA). Backed with £800 million by 2024/25 and tasked with funding high-risk, high-payoff research that offers the chance of high rewards, the ARIA supports ground-breaking discoveries that could transform people’s lives.

R&D spend: 2021 and beyond

The government remains committed to reaching its target of 2.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) spent on R&D across the UK economy by 2027 and increasing the budget for R&D to £22 billion.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will be confirming science budgets for its partner organisations in 2021/22 as quickly as possible. BEIS will also provide a breakdown of its R&D spending when final allocations are published later in the year.

If you don’t think your business qualifies for R&D tax credits, then you could be wrong. If you do believe you’re eligible, then you could be right. Contact Easy R&D today, and we’ll find out for sure.


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