Ambitious delivery plans published across UKRI

10 June 2019

Ambitious delivery plans published today outline how UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) will work with its partners to ensure that world-leading research and innovation continues to flourish in the UK.

Thames Barrier

The Delivery Plans 2019 highlight the areas of focus and key activities of UKRI's nine constituent councils and its cross-cutting themes.

The plans also detail UKRI's approach to delivering the government's target of 2·4% gross domestic product (GDP) spend on research and innovation by 2027, as part of its modern Industrial Strategy backing businesses to create high-paid, highly-skilled jobs in every part of the UK.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said:

One year ago, we set up UK Research & Innovation, to spearhead our record investment in R&D, with the aim of increasing it to 2·4% of GDP by 2027. In its first year, UK Research & Innovation has been a key partner in delivering our modern Industrial Strategy through the Challenge Funds, investing in our skills base through programmes such as Future Leaders Fellowships and new doctoral training in artificial intelligence, and cementing our reputation as a global partner of choice through projects including the Fund for International Collaboration.

And as part of our modern Industrial Strategy, our ambitious plans for the year ahead will ensure the UK builds on this rich heritage in innovation and research excellence to create a net zero carbon economy with highly-skilled, well-paid jobs at its core.

UK Research & Innovation Chief Executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said:

The delivery plans announced today are the blueprints for UKRI's ambition to deliver the future of research and innovation. They outline how we will address the major global and societal challenges of our time, catalyse collaboration and contribute to meeting the government's ambitious 2·4% target.

NERC Executive Chair Professor Duncan Wingham said:

As part of UKRI, NERC will continue our strong tradition of commissioning excellent research, supporting the UK's world-leading universities and research institutions, and forming strong partnerships to secure the funding to do so. With significant and rising public support for our science as a core part of societal responses to environmental and economic challenges, the coming years represent an exciting time for environmental science in the UK and beyond.

With this Delivery Plan, NERC is setting out its ambition to lead a broad and diverse research community to bring about the environmental solutions needed to foster a productive, healthy and resilient environment, such as clean air and water, limiting climate warming, a circular economy, and diverse ecosystems. Tackling these complex environmental challenges requires us to bring together a deep understanding of environmental science with a whole-systems approach, pushing the frontiers of knowledge, harnessing the latest technology and working in partnership across the UK and worldwide.

Sir Mark will outline the plans at a UKRI engagement event in Leeds today (10 June 2019). He added:

UKRI has had a strong first year - the Future Leaders Fellowships programme, the Strength in Places Fund and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund are all examples of the difference we can make working together as one organisation. But there is much more to do. Our vision is to benefit everyone by delivering knowledge with impact. Our delivery plans set out how we intend to make that ambition a reality.

The plans have been developed with input from across UKRI's research and innovation communities and build upon the Strategic Prospectus - external link published in May 2018, which outlined UKRI's vision, mission and values.

Delivery plans have been published by UKRI's nine constituent councils, in addition to a plan covering cross-UKRI initiatives.

The cross-UKRI delivery plan details the six themes that guide the organisation's approach to delivering the 2·4% target:

  • Business environment: We will deliver economic, social and cultural impact
  • Places: We will support growth across the UK
  • Ideas: We will address global partnerships and address global challenges
  • People: We will build the skills and environment required for research and innovation to thrive
  • Infrastructure: We will enable access to, and invest in, world-leading research and innovation infrastructure
  • International: We will build global partnerships and address global challenges

The plan also highlights the key initiatives established by UKRI, including the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the Strength in Places Fund, the Strategic Priorities Fund, Future Leaders Fellowships and the Fund for International Collaboration.

Funding is part of a wider government modern Industrial Strategy to back businesses to succeed by increasing investment in science, because countries that invest in ideas create more opportunities for business. Delivery plans for each of UKRI's nine councils set out ambitious programmes for each council in support of UKRI's overall approach, detailing their priorities, and research and innovation themes.

UKRI is holding a major stakeholder event today, hosted by the University of Leeds and attended by research, business and civic leaders from across the UK. At the evening reception, Sir Mark will outline the delivery plans alongside the successes of UKRI's first year of operation and discuss future challenges. He will tell guests that UKRI has already demonstrated what can be achieved through working as one organisation. This includes the delivery of programmes such as the Strength in Places Fund and Future Leaders Fellowships and setting out the UKRI 'mission' to tackle equality, diversity and inclusion.

During the day, representatives of business, regional government and research will discuss support for innovation and how university collaborations can drive growth. The event, staged at University of Leeds Nexus Centre and organised by Innovate UK with the Leeds City Region local enterprise partnership, will help the Yorkshire business build new partnerships and access support for innovation. Sir Mark and UKRI senior leaders will also visit major research initiatives including Robotics at Leeds and the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics.

Over the weekend, more than 100,000 shoppers at the Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds had the opportunity to discover the research helping to create sustainable cities across the globe through an exhibition of photographs taken by researchers from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Centre for Sustainable, Healthy & Learning Cities.

Further information

James Giles-Franklin
Media Manager
01793 234170