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R&D tax credits should be reformed using this Budget

We need to harness the energy of British science for the task of rebuilding our economy. Bringing capital expenditure into R&D tax credits is a simple, rapidly self-financing way to kick-start growth.

The world leading speed of Britain’s vaccination programme is testament to the strength of our NHS and life sciences industry.

Working together, we set a global pace for the development of the science that will beat this pandemic.

The world doesn’t stand still, though.

Not only will we need constant innovation to keep coronavirus at bay, we also need to harness the energy of British science for the task of rebuilding our economy. And if we get this right, the benefits could be huge.

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So, I was delighted to hear the Prime Minister say he wants the UK to become a ‘science superpower’: a global leader in science and technology, where home-grown discoveries and innovations drive new jobs, growth and levelling up.

We simply cannot become the global innovation leader the Prime Minister wants if our R&D investment incentives lag behind those of our competitors.

The key issue in all this is R&D.

Making the UK the best place in the world for commercial R&D in areas like advanced manufacturing, clean energy and medicines.

It was under this call that eight of the country’s leading trade groups, including the CBI, Tech UK, and my organisation, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), have come together to release a new report on how to make this a reality.

The big issue it highlights is how little R&D the UK economy supports compared to our competitors, at only 1.7% of national income, compared to the OECD average of 2.4%. The key reason for this is that there is simply too little incentive for businesses and investors to make the UK their R&D base.

That is why we are all calling on the Chancellor for a simple change of policy to allow capital expenditure for research sites, factories, laboratories and machinery to qualify for R&D tax credits.

Tax credits are already used to help businesses claim tax relief for other R&D costs, but the cost of the actual facilities to conduct the work are excluded for most firms.

This contrasts with the approach of France, Spain and Japan among others, so creates a potential reason not to do R&D in the UK.

Our analysis shows that if allowed, this relief would more than pay for itself because of the substantial economic benefits it produces.

We project that it would become a net revenue raiser for the Exchequer in just seven years, and by year 10, would be adding £4bn a year to the economy.

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Best of all, however, the policy would create serious numbers of jobs – an additional 12,000 over the initial period, mainly in high-skilled manufacturing, plus spillover jobs across industry. And the real boon for the Government is that these benefits would cluster in the UK’s industrial heartlands in the North of England and West Midlands, giving a major boost to the levelling up agenda.

R&D is especially important for levelling up because research-related jobs pay comparatively more in the regional economies outside the south east.

The average salary of somebody working in R&D in the East Midlands, for example, is 52% higher than that across all jobs in the region. Yet the average salary of somebody working in London in the same occupation is two percent below the average there.

For all these reasons, we are urging the Chancellor to reform tax credits to create this place-based incentive to invest in R&D here in the UK.

We simply cannot become the global innovation leader the Prime Minister wants if our R&D investment incentives lag behind those of our competitors.

Bringing capital expenditure into R&D tax credits is a simple, rapidly self-financing way to kick-start growth.

It would also send a bold and very loud signal to investors and boardrooms around the world that the Government is serious about its vision for a ‘Global Britain’ and we really could become the science superpower the Prime Minister envisions.

By Richard Torbett, Chief Executive | Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)

Source: Politics Home

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UK announces nuclear waste competition winners

FOURTEEN companies have won contracts in a £3.9m (US$5.5m) competition aimed at developing a waste toolkit that will contribute to meeting the aims of the nation’s nuclear sector deal.

The “Sort and Segregate Nuclear Waste” competition – set up in partnership between Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Magnox, Sellafield Ltd and Innovate UK – involves developing an autonomous and integrated toolkit to sort and segregate mixed radioactive waste generated by nuclear decommissioning activities. This is expected to help reduce the level of waste requiring disposal, increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve safety. The competition is funded by NDA.

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The winning consortia succeeded in the first phase of the competition, which involved devising proposals for a toolkit. They have each been awarded contracts worth up to £60,000 (with a total of £600,000 available at this phase). Each of the winning consortia will now develop feasibility studies for their proposals, which include technology such as robotics, advanced sensors, and artificial intelligence.

In the second phase of the competition, four research and development contracts are available for a full-scale prototype in a non-radioactive environment. The contracts are worth up to £900,000 each, with the demonstration projects expected to run for 15 months. Initial feasibility studies are expected to be delivered in May.

The successful business in the overall programme will be expected to pursue commercialisation of its technology. The winning groups of Phase 1 include Atkins, Cavendish Nuclear, EDF Energy R&D Centre, Jacobs Clean Energy, Nuvia, and Veolia Nuclear Solutions.

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Derek Allen, Innovation Lead, and Energy Clean Growth and Infrastructure Lead at Innovate UK, commented: “The response to the competition was excellent and some really exciting projects have been funded. There are some great examples of technology transfer and I look forward to seeing these innovative projects progress over the next few months.”

In a joint release, NDA, Magnox, Sellafield Ltd and Innovate UK said they believe challenges such as this are an important route for engaging the nuclear supply chain. Additionally, they said the challenges encourage diverse thinking, and help find innovative techniques and technologies from other sectors to help deliver NDA’s decommissioning mission and meet the aims of the Nuclear Sector Deal. The £200m nuclear sector deal unveiled in 2018 seeks to drive down costs, and increase innovation and work diversity.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Source: The Chemical Engineer

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R&D Funding – Government Fails To Maximise The Potential Of Catapults

The UK government is unlikely to reach its current research and development (R&D) spending target without increasing the funding available to the country’s technology and innovation centres, found the House of Lords Science and Technology subcommittee.

Known as “catapults”, these not-for-profit, independent technology and innovation centres are designed to connect businesses with the UK’s research and academic communities with the aim of turning innovative ideas into commercial products.

According to a report published 5 February 2021 by the subcommittee, the government’s current approach “lacks a detailed plan for delivering its R&D ambitions”. which – in tandem with a lack of effective funding – means it is “unlikely” the government will attract enough private investment to reach its target of 2.4% of GDP spending on R&D by 2027.

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The report claimed that catapults were well-placed to contribute to the government’s “levelling-up” agenda and its R&D strategy, and that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is currently undertaking a review of how catapults can strengthen R&D capacity and improve productivity. The review is due early 2021.

It also noted while catapults are currently funded via a “thirds model” – whereby the government (through Innovate UK), industry partners and collaborative R&D funds (which are bid for by consortia involving the catapults) each provide a third of the money – caps placed on the amount of collaborative funding they receive, as well as their inability to apply for Research Councils’ funding, limit the amount of investment the actually available to them.

“The funding available for innovation in the UK does not appear to be commensurate with the government’s ambitions, as set out in the R&D Roadmap. Rules governing funding for innovation create barriers to collaboration between for Catapults and universities, and can deter industrial partners,” it said.

“First, the cap on collaborative R&D funding for public sector bodies inhibits collaboration between catapults and universities. Leveraged funding requirements place too much risk on industry in transformative R&D projects. Finally, lack of access to Research Council funding puts catapults at a disadvantage compared to universities.”

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To deal with the issue, the committee recommends that the government, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and Innovate UK create a clear plan for how public sector resources and private investment can be made to match the Roadmap’s scale of ambition, and that UKRI allows catapults to bid for Research Council funds where there are clear advantages in terms of both research and innovation.

It further recommended that Innovate UK be more flexible in how much public sector bodies receive from collaborative R&D funds, which are currently capped at 30% and must be shared between all bodies involved.

“The UK’s innovation system has all the necessary components to be successful, but it lacks the necessary scale and collaboration to fully realise economic benefits for the UK,” said committee chair Narendra Patel.

“The Catapult Network is an important national asset which has the potential to drive further innovation. The catapults could have a much larger impact if their performance was not held back.

“To maximise the impact and potential of catapults, collaboration should be strengthened with academics and industry. The government should broaden access to funds and prioritise scaling up the network catapults. Without urgent action to attract more private investment, the government is unlikely to meets its R&D spending targets.”

The committee also claimed that catapults have the potential to contribute to regional development and support the government’s levelling-up agenda. However, better coordination is necessary to unlock this potential.

According to science, research and innovation minister Amanda Solloway, who is quoted in the report: “Catapults are national assets established to have a national remit and capability. They do not have specific objectives to support levelling up.

“However, their national presence covers over 40 locations across the UK, and there are many examples of catapults creating local clusters of innovation activity.”

The Catapult Network, which represents nine tech and innovation centres across 40 locations, further noted that UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund – which aims to drive economic growth in specific areas of the UK – is “geographically ring-fenced”, preventing “catapults from investing in regions where they do not presently work”.

In its recommendations, the subcommittee said that BEIS and UKRI should “develop a more strategic approach across policies for innovation and regional development – such as broadening access to the Strength in Places Fund”.

By Sebastian Klovig Skelton

Source: Computer Weekly

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Innovate UK Is Offering £16m For Sustainable Plastic Packaging

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest the money from the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Programme to support projects that demonstrate innovation at a commercial scale.

The aim of the competition is to address widely known problems in relation to plastic packaging for consumer products. Proposals must include significant industry investment.

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This is stage 1 of a 2-stage competition. The stages are:

  1. Expression of interest (this stage): evaluated by the SSPP team and independent assessment by Innovate UK. There is no funding in this stage.
  2. Full stage application. This will be by invitation only to applicants who are successful in the EoI stage through the Innovation Funding Service and will include independent assessment by Innovate UK, with an independent Environmental Impact Assessment and, if relevant, an Engineering Assessment.

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Innovate UK expects to invest in up to 3 practical demonstrators at the full stage competition.

Projects must demonstrate an idea at commercial scale which:

  • improves the sustainability of the plastic packaging supply chain
  • helps deliver the targets of the UK Plastics Pact
  • utilises innovation in design, technology, processes, business models, supply chains or data for plastic packaging
  • embeds a whole-systems approach to plastic packaging sustainability, considering environmental, economic, and social factors

The competition closes at 11am UK time on Wednesday 24 March.

By Tony Corbin

Source: Packaging News

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£80,000 Awarded to Projects from the Welsh Creative Sectors

Clwstwr announces latest cohort of innovators to benefit from research and development (R&D) support.

Creative freelancers and micro-businesses are developing new ways of working thanks to an initiative led by Cardiff University.

Clwstwr, which works to drive innovation in the creative industries in South Wales, has awarded grants to eight projects in its latest funding round. The cohort will work to find improved techniques in areas including remote interviewing, the workflow of set design in high-end television, mimicking the look of shooting in film using digital tools and Welsh language news for young people.

Proposed innovations also have the potential to improve sustainability, tourism and inclusion.

The 2021 Clwstwr seed cohort was chosen following a two-day Ideas Lab, where attendees learned about the principles of research and development (R&D) for innovation. The group will now work closely with industry experts and academics to develop their ideas over a three-month period.

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Sara Pepper, Chief Operating Officer for Clwstwr, said:

“We have been really impressed by the progress of the projects that we funded from our first Ideas Lab in 2020 and are looking forward to seeing what this new cohort will develop and deliver.

“Our commitment to early-stage innovators is a key part of our work. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on freelancers and businesses working in the cultural industries. We hope that by providing development opportunities such as this one, we are helping to maintain a thriving and vibrant creative sector in South Wales which will grow further in the years to come.”

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Yeota Imam-Rashid, of Cardiff production company Little Bird Films, received funding for a project called Green Screen. Yeota said:

“Green Screen will explore how we can achieve as close to a zero-net carbon footprint as possible in media production, by looking at every aspect of the process.

“Little Bird Films is very excited to be part of something that could have far reaching effects for generations to come. It has huge potential to put Wales on the map as a leader in sustainable media production.”

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, said: “Clwstwr is providing a wide range of Welsh creative businesses with the opportunity to explore new products and services through their next funding round. I’m delighted that Creative Wales is providing the match funding to enable these businesses to get this much needed boost through the well regarded Clwstwr programme.”

Clwstwr, led by Cardiff University in partnership with the University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University, is a five-year research and development programme that aims to nurture a thriving media production hub around the Welsh capital.

Funded through the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, with match funding from Creative Wales, Clwstwr brings together all major Welsh broadcasters including BBC Cymru Wales, S4C and ITV Wales with independent film and television production companies, Wales’s national companies and creative organisations, creative coworking spaces, tech start-ups, strategic agencies including Arts Council of Wales, local authorities including Cardiff Council and Welsh Government.

Since 2019, Clwstwr has awarded £2 million to 66 projects to develop their ideas for new products, services and experiences for screen and news.

By STEVE MCNALLY

Source: BusinessNewsWales

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Government Funding Secured By Heathrow For Net-zero Aviation Roadmap

Heathrow Airport has secured Government funding for a project dedicated to developing a blueprint for delivering a net-zero UK aviation sector, by or ahead of the national 2050 deadline.

The Airport confirmed today (18 February) that it has secured funding from Innovate UK, through the organisation’s Future Flight Challenge, for two sustainability-related projects.

Project NAPKIN (New Aviation Propulsion Knowledge and Innovation Network) is the first of these initiatives. The project is an R&D initiative which will combine expertise, data, insights and technologies from across the value chain to plot a national course to net-zero, assessing which technologies will play a role and when.

Organisations supporting Heathrow with Project NAPKIN include Oxford University, Cranfield University, Kings College London, NATS, SITA, Rolls Royce, The University of Southampton, Deloitte, UCL, London City Airport, Highlands and Islands Airports and IAG, the parent company of British Airways.

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The second project is called Fly2Plan. It will investigate how emerging technologies like cloud infrastructure and blockchain could be used to collect and manage data from Heathrow Airport. The hope is the creation of a “decentralised, resilient and efficient operating model to support cross-company collaboration”. Such a model will be necessary if Heathrow is to scale up drones in line with the Government’s broader aviation innovation plans.

Heathrow has already begun the first stage of research for both projects. In both cases, this phase is due to last around 12 months more. The second phase will entail live demonstrations of key technologies and systems, alongside work to get businesses across the sector to adopt shared decarbonisation goals.

Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge is offering a total of £125m in Government grants. It has not disclosed what share of this government funding will be allocated to Heathrow. Aside from reducing emissions, the aims of the Challenge are to create economic opportunities for new forms of air mobility (such as drones and air taxis) and safeguarding the UK’s international advantage in aerospace R&D.

“Heathrow has always served as a testbed for ground-breaking green technologies,” the Airport’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said. “These concepts go further than ever before, with the potential to transform the role that aviation plays in Britain’s economy.

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“The Future Flight Challenge has come at a critical time for the country and our industry. We’re proud to be driving forward with these disruptive initiatives in the year that the UK hosts COP26 and our industry builds back better, as we work to recover from the devastating impacts of this pandemic.”

National approach

Pre-pandemic, the aviation sector contributed at least £14bn to national GDP – but it was also a hard-to-abate and fast-growing source of emissions.

The UK Government’s vision for creating a green recovery for the sector, beyond the initial funding, also involves a ‘Jet Zero Council’ – a coalition of Ministers, businesses, trade bodies and environmental groups mapping the technologies that will be needed to get the sector to net-zero. It has additionally earmarked £200m from Treasury coffers and £200m from the industry for projects developing SAF, energy-efficient electric aircraft components, high-performance engines and wing designs intended to minimise fuel consumption.

Pressure is mounting, however, for the Government to publish its net-zero roadmap. The framework will outline short and mid-term, sector-specific decarbonisation targets aligned with the long-term net-zero goal. It will also contain recommendations for the technologies and systems it intends to support most, and, as such, is expected to boost investor certainty. Ministers have promised the roadmap before COP26 begins and are being urged to ensure that it does not face delays, as has been the case for the Heat & Buildings Strategy, Hydrogen Strategy, Energy White Paper, National Infrastructure Strategy and Environment Bill.

Ministers are also being urged to include international aviation in the UK’s climate accounting framework and to cap growth in the sector – recommendations previously made by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

On the latter, the UK Government did not appeal a court decision to block a third runway at Heathrow, but the corporate owner of the airport did so successfully in December 2020. More recently, Leeds City Council approved plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport earlier this week, in a move that disappointed many green groups.

By Sarah George

Source: Edie

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Innovate UK – £1.2m To Develop Chemical Recycling Technology In The UK

Cranfield University; Recycling Technologies, a specialist plastic recycling technology provider; and Birmingham and Surrey Universities have received backing from Innovate UK Smart ‘open grant funding programme’ for a £1.2m project to enhance and improve the efficiency of chemical recycling technology in the UK.

The research project aims to further develop and enhance the RT7000, a machine manufactured by Recycling Technologies which converts waste plastics into Plaxx®, a recycled feedstock which can be used to manufacture new plastic.

The parties will work together on developing an online monitoring system which will predict and control Plaxx® quality based on input composition and process conditions.

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This collaboration will result in reduced running costs and improved efficiency for the RT7000 and, in turn, will speed up the development of commercial chemical recycling benefiting the environment by reducing the need to incinerate, bury or export residual plastic waste.

Cranfield, Birmingham and Surrey Universities have been individually working with Recycling Technologies on its cutting-edge technology. This project will bring together their expertise and skills to accelerate a solution which will help solve one of the biggest global problems and ensure a more sustainable future for the planet.

Marvine Besong, Technical Director at Recycling Technologies, said: “Recycling Technologies is delighted to have received this grant from Innovate UK’s far-sighted Smart programme to invest in the best game-changing, commercially-viable and innovative disruptive ideas. Our collaboration with these leading UK universities with a long track record of successful engineering research and development will fast-track our mission to accelerate the evolution of waste plastic into a more sustainable material.”

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Joy Sumner, Senior Lecturer in Energy Materials at Cranfield University, said: “This is a fantastic chance to bring Cranfield’s materials degradation know-how to practical application, helping Recycling Technologies as they design and construct plant for recycling plastics into usable products.”

Gary Leeke, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, said: “Birmingham has been working in the chemical recycling of plastics for the past nine years. A team of academics and researchers is excited to support the development of Recycling Technologies’ commercial chemical recycling plant. The team involves academics from Chemical Engineering and Metallurgy and Materials who are working with the wider project team to control the quality of the Plaxx product and improve plant efficiency. Technology development of this kind is key to supporting the transition from a linear to a circular economy for plastic waste.”

Professor Rex Thorpe of the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Surrey, said: “I have been pleased to support this company in its goal to create a process that turns plastic waste into a valuable feedstock for the future chemical industry. This grant enables me to spend more time and resources on that support.”

Source: Cranfield University

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Corporation Tax Increase Is A Self-defeating Strategy

As a Corporation Tax rate (currently 19%) rise remains a possibility for this year’s budget on 3 March, Chris Denning, Head of Corporate and International Tax at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, believes the government needs to stimulate enterprise and investment and, like it or not, the Corporation Tax rate is a seen a bell weather for the attractiveness of the UK economy.

Denning said, “Small changes in tax rates are more about influencing behaviour and sending a message than raising revenue. For foreign investors, already nervous about the post-Brexit environment, a rise in the headline rate of Corporation Tax could be the straw breaking the camel’s back for any potential overseas investment.

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This would not necessarily be due to the extra tax in and of itself, but because of the message it sends out about the UK’s willingness to preserve the current fiscal regime which foreign investors find attractive and is one of the key drivers in the UK being a preferred location when businesses are expanding internationally.

“The UK needs a fiscal regime centred around international competitiveness now more than ever. The Chancellor should concentrate on growth and the way to do that is to create a vibrant economy. He needs to use his fiscal tools, like varying tax rates, in a positive rather than a negative way.

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We have good foundations in place already, with our foreign dividend and participation exemptions, R&D tax relief, Patent Box relief and the Capital Allowance regime. It is vital not to backslide on this as post-Brexit the UK is arguably now less attractive to overseas investors. With borrowing also currently very cheap, there is no need to pay for the pandemic in the short term.

“Corporation tax revenues are a relatively small part of the UK’s total tax intake (circa 6% in 2019/20) and total receipts have increased in recent years, despite the main rate being lowered in 2017 (from 20% to 19%).* A rise in the tax rate, even if it raised more revenue, could not raise enough to compensate for the damage to the UK’s reputation for competitiveness.”

Source: London Loves Business

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Industry calls for reform to ‘outdated’ R&D tax credit regime

Tax credits for companies doing research and development must be reformed to kick-start the economy and make the UK a more attractive place for investment after Brexit and Covid, industry leaders have warned.

Eight powerful trade bodies representing firms spanning the pharmaceuticals and tech industries to food and drink and aerospace have come together to urge Chancellor Rishi Sunak to change the rules in a bid to kick-start a wave of innovation.

The current “outdated” rules do not allow companies to claim R&D tax breaks on capital spending, such as on labs and buildings and machinery, unlike in other countries such as France, Spain and Japan.

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A report commissioned by the industry bodies said: “In other words, there are far stronger incentives to physically locate new research facilities in other countries.”

Enhancing the R&D tax credit regime to include capital spending could create a strong incentive for companies to invest in Britain.

The change could add £4bn a year to the economy within a decade, according to the report, and create at least 12,000 jobs – mostly in high-skilled, high-wage manufacturing areas such as new medicines, robotics and clean energy. It would pay for itself in seven years, and produce a net gain for government coffers.

Richard Torbett, chief executive of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said: “This report shows just how critical R&D will be to our recovery, but also how we do not have the incentives other countries do to attract more investment and job creation in the UK. We are calling on the Chancellor to reform tax credits and give a real kick-start to the recovery.”

The policy would also create new investment and jobs created in regions like the North and, the groups said, areas where the Government has committed to boosting employment and the economy. It would also help the government to meet its pledge to increase the country’s R&D spend to 2.4pc of GDP by 2027, from the existing level of 1.7pc.

Business R&D expenditure has increased by more than a third in the last decade, rising from £19bn in 2010 to £26bn in 2019. It now accounts for 8.3pc of all company spending, up from 5.2pc in 2010.

There are some tax benefits attached to R&D capital expenditure, but they treat loss-making and profit-making firms differently.

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Profit-making businesses get back 19pc on R&D capital expenditure through the tax system, but loss-making ones get nothing back. This is important in the context of a pandemic-related economic downturn, the report argues, because many more firms are expected to make a loss.

Steve Hughes, the report’s author, said: “The move to include capital expenditure allowances in R&D tax credits would be very simple to implement, would make the UK a better place to invest in, would drive jobs and growth across the regions that most need levelling up, all for a policy that is self-financing. It should be adopted as an immediate priority.

“Of all the options the Chancellor has at his disposal to reboot the economy, this is the no-brainer. The UK cannot be the best place in the world for scientific research if incentives for investing in it are suboptimal compared to elsewhere.”

The report was put together by the ABPI; manufacturing body Make UK; space industry group UKSpace; TechUK; the Confederation of British Industry; The Food and Drink Federation; The Association of British HealthTech Industries; and ADS, which represents aerospace, defence, security and space companies.

By Julia Bradshaw

Source: MSN

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Chris Heaton-Harris and Innovate UK launch £9 Million Rail Innovation competition

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, alongside Innovate UK, has launched a £9m competition to find new ideas to transform the railway network.

The First of a Kind Competition, or FOAK, focuses on developing technology and ideas to improve journeys for passengers and is now in its fifth round. This year, there is a particular focus on supporting ideas to make the network cleaner and more passenger-friendly.

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Past competitions have seen the Department for Transport and Innovate UK invest £25m in developing ideas including:

  • HydroFLEX – the testing of the first hydrogen train in the UK
  • Inspection drones to assess the safety of rail infrastructure
  • Concrete slabs that heat up to prevent icy platforms
  • Sound bending walls to minimise the noise of passing trains
  • Hydrogen based steam turbines to make rail freight emission and noise-free.

Organisations can bid for the funding until the 10th March 2021, and in 2020, 25 projects received a share of the £9m funding.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “This country pioneered the railway, and that spirit of innovation and ingenuity has never been more vital as we look to build back better from this pandemic.

“Our railways will underpin this country’s economic recovery and help realise our ambitions of a carbon neutral future. Through initiatives like the First of a Kind competition, we are investing today to build the railway of tomorrow.”

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Simon Edwards, Deputy Executive Chair & Chief Business Officer, Innovate UK, said: “A greener railway, easier for everyone, with a better experience for users is the aim of this competition. Delivered by Innovate UK, on behalf of the DfT and through the Small Business Research Initiative, it seeks the best and brightest ideas. Innovative companies all over the UK have proved their mettle in previous rounds of this scheme.

“Now we call again for even more fresh thinking to help deliver a better and greener railway that delivers for passengers and freight users.”

Dr Stuart Hillmansen, HydroFLEX Technical Lead, said: “It is fantastic to see our early fundamental research on the application of Fuel Cells in the railway sector being implemented, and delivering real benefits for today’s railway.”

James Eyton, Seatfrog Chief Financial Officer, said: “The DfT and InnovateUK are an incredible supporter of technology startups and scaleups in the UK providing funding to drive innovation which enhances the passenger experience.

“At Seatfrog, this funding has enabled us to fast track our product development of Train Swap delivering the fastest and easiest way to change your train in the UK”.

By MICHAEL HOLDEN

Source: Rail Advent

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