Government £1.3 billion boost to attract top talent

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The Government’s Business Secretary, Greg Clark, has unveiled £1.3 billion of skills funding investment for British universities and businesses to develop entrepreneurs, innovators and scientific leaders.

Previous investment in new talent has funded research into new cancer drugs and technology.  The money, the government says, is part of the single biggest investment in science in 40 years, will help ensure the UK invests 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027 and becomes the most innovative economy by 2030.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “We are a nation of innovators, with some of the world’s greatest inventions created on British soil – from penicillin to the first computer programme. International collaboration has been key to many of the most significant discoveries and breakthroughs and I want the UK to remain the go-to destination for the best scientists and innovators. We are investing in the rising stars of research and innovation to ensure the UK is where the products and technologies of tomorrow are developed.”

The inaugural UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship Scheme will receive £900 million over the next 11 years, with 6 skills funding competitions and at least 550 fellowships awarded over the next 3 years. The funding investment will provide up to 7 years of funding for early-career researchers and innovators, including support for part-time awards and career-breaks, providing flexibility to researchers to tackle ambitious and challenging areas. For the first time ever, this type of scheme will now be open to businesses as well as universities. The scheme aims to help funding for the next generation of tech entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators get the support they need to develop their careers. It is open to best researchers from around the world, ensuring the UK continues to attract the most exceptional talent wherever they may come from.

Complementing the Future Leaders Fellowship Scheme, the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, British Academy, and Academy of Medical Sciences will collectively receive £350 million for the prestigious fellowships schemes. This funding will enhance the research talent pipeline and increase the number of fellowships on offer for high skilled researchers and innovators.

Over the next 5 years, £50 skills million funding has been allocated through the National Productivity Investment Fund for additional PhDs, including 100 PhDs to support research into AI, supporting one of the Grand Challenges within the Industrial Strategy and ensuring Britain is at the forefront of the AI revolution.

Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “Talented people are the energy and engine of new knowledge, new ideas and new opportunities. The long-term investment announced today means the UK will continue to attract and grow the very best, supporting those who want to solve the most difficult questions whether they are in frontier science, our evolving society or our changing economy.”