Research and development (R&D) support in the UK

The UK’s ability to develop new ideas is one of our great strengths, from the jet engine and the bagless vacuum cleaner to MRI scanners and the world wide web

Last updated 24 October 2019

The UK’s talent pool, funding and incentives and business infrastructure all help create an environment of business innovation. Our commitment to world-leading research and development will help your business reach its full potential.

We are one of the most innovative countries in the world - ranked in the top 5 countries in the Global Innovation Index 2019.

For companies such as Ford, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Nokia and Eisai, the UK’s business environment is the natural choice for investment in innovation.

Government help for your business

The UK government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, helps businesses develop new ideas and turn them into a commercial success.

It can help you:

  • access funding
  • connect with researchers and other collaborators
  • find potential customers.

Financial incentives to innovate in the UK

The UK offers generous financial support and tax incentives for innovation in the UK.

These include:

  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding through our Research Councils and Innovate UK
  • research-led tax incentives such as Patent Box, R&D Tax Relief and R&D Expenditure Credit

World-class talent

In the UK you’ll have access to world-class academic and research talent. You’ll also be able to take advantage of a good supply of highly skilled employees.

Our many innovation initiatives include our Grand Challenges. These bring together the best minds in science and business to explore opportunities from 21st century global trends.

Regulation to protect your ideas

The UK has a world class intellectual property regime. This protects the names, ideas, products, designs and written word of businesses.

Find out about Brexit and UK intellectual property laws

Find a UK intellectual property specialist

Infrastructure that supports innovation

The UK invests £6bn each year in research councils and universities.

Our network of Catapult Centres help emerging technologies become commercially viable.

We also have a range of ‘business clusters’ up and down the country offering specialist expertise.

These include:

  • advanced engineering and medical technologies in the Northern Powerhouse
  • the UK’s answer to Silicon Valley in the Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford corridor
  • a thriving life sciences research and renewables scene in Edinburgh.

Explore the topic

UK Research and Innovation

Innovate UK

Research and development tax reliefs