Research and Development Opportunities in the UK

There has never been a better time to invest in Research and Development in the UK. The UK has clear, consistent and long-term R&D priorities across cutting-edge sectors, including life sciences, space and quantum, supported by record levels of public investment. Now is the time to capitalise on an R&D ecosystem that is supported by public expenditure to grow.

Investment opportunities and support are available. Get in touch to be connected with our R&D sector and investment experts.

  • £20 billion: The UK Government's R&D budget by 2024-25, £5bn more than in 2021-22¹
  • 4th: The UK's rank in the Global Innovation Index 2022²
  • £2: Every £1 of public investment in R&D leverages £2 of added private investment over time³

How we can help

The Department for Business and Trade’s (DBT) close partnership with regional investment and economic development agencies in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland means it is well placed to be the gateway to help global businesses achieve their investment objectives in all parts of the UK.

The UK the second-largest investment destination in the world and we are committed to keeping it that way. Our international network provides a global reach in 170 countries.

We are your expert guides on your journey to invest in the UK. We offer free and confidential advice and services to inward investors, giving new investors the confidence to invest and helping existing inward investors to expand and grow—using the UK as your gateway to the world.

Why invest in UK R&D?

The UK's long history of innovation and commitment to world-leading R&D helps businesses and investors reach their full potential. R&D investment opportunities are available across sectors and the UK, including in life sciences, space, quantum, AI and engineering biology.

Image of a pipette dropping solution into test tube

Life Sciences

The UK's life sciences sector is booming

In 2022, the UK life science sector secured a total of £3.3 billion in equity financing, an increase of 500% since 2012. UK scientists continue to be at the forefront of science and discovery, responsible for discovering around 25 per cent of the world's top 100 prescription medicines and leading the way in COVID-19 vaccines. Our plans for future growth are outlined in the Life Sciences Vision.

Learn more
Image of satellite orbiting earth


UK space is taking off

The UK is leading the world in modern regulation of space activities, fit for the new commerical space age. The UK is home to the world's first quoted vehicle investing primarily in space tech businesses, Seraphim Space Investment Trust. Now is the time to join a UK-wide space ecosystem that is boosting exports, attracting talent and investment and further integrating space data and technologies into daily life.

Learn more
Image of quantum mechanical machinery


Quantum is enabling a step change in technological performance

The UK has a thriving quantum ecosystem, with UK Government commitment of £2.5 billion over the next 10 years until 2034. We have regional centres of excellence with world-leading talent across the nation. The forthcoming National Quantum Strategy sets out the UK Government's objectives to sustain and build on the success of the UK's quantum sector.

Learn more
Image of circuit board denoting AI


The UK is a world leader in AI

The UK has seen huge expansion in AI over the last decade with a National Data Strategy aiming to leverage existing UK strengths to boost the better use of data. Alongside the USA, we’re the most likely destination for AI researchers to move to in the world. In addition, in March 2023, we committed a further £117 million to create hundreds of new PhDs for AI researchers.

Learn more
Graphical image of robot hand and double helix

Engineering Biology

The UK has a long history in biological sciences innovation

The UK has strengths across the breadth of engineering biology and is amongst the global leaders in engineering biology research, both in quantity, breadth of capabilities and quality. The UK’s engineering biology sector is impressively entrepreneurial. UK firms using engineering biology recieved over $3 billion in private equity finance in 2021.

Learn more
Satellite image of the UK at night lit up

R&D Support

The UK offers generous financial support and tax incentives for innovation

Incentives include UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding through our Research Councils and Innovate UK, as well as research-led tax incentives such as Patent Box, R&D Tax Relief and R&D Expenditure Credit. The UK Government's innovation agency, Innovate UK, can also help businesses access funding, connect with researchers and other collaborators, and find potential customers.

Learn more

1. GOV.UK. (n.d.). Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021: documents. [online] Available at: in a new tab

2. Global Innovation Index | Creating Healthy Lives-The Future of Medical Innovation (2019). Global Innovation Index | Creating Healthy Lives-The Future of Medical Innovation. [online] Global Innovation Index. Available at: in a new tab

3. Mohanty, A. (2020). The relationship between public and private R&D funding. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Oxford Economics.

Contact our specialists to find the right investment for your business

Here at the Department for Business and Trade, we can help you find the right conditions to catalyse your R&D. Our investment advisors are on standby to talk through your expansions plans and discuss how the UK could be a great fit for your business. 

Last updated: