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Innovation Is A Cornerstone Of The UK Economy

17 March 2010

Support worth over £400m from Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), covering the life sciences, digital technology and advanced manufacturing sectors, is boosting UK innovation – a key part of the economy that accounts for two thirds of average labour productivity growth in the UK.

Two current reports demonstrate the value added to the UK economy. The Annual Innovation Report* highlights how UK innovation continues a positive trend within the top five European Union member states. Similarly, the Technology Strategy Board’s (TSB) Accelerating Business Innovation across the UK report demonstrates how businesses across England are benefiting from greater cooperation between RDAs and the TSB.

The RDAs drive innovation through support for collaborations, which include science parks, facilities, networks, innovation vouchers, and business support for innovation through grants for research and development. The RDAs will align well over £400m of funding with the Technology Strategy Board priority areas over 2008-11.

Key achievements delivered with RDA support include:

  • UK universities are producing more spin-out companies than their European counterparts, raising over £2.8 billion of external investment in 2007/08
  • Investment in R&D in 2007 reached £25.4bn
  • UK universities’ external income increased by 6.5%
  • Intangible investment in innovation by business, a key driver of innovation in the UK economy, in 2007 was estimated at £133 billion

Pam Alexander, Chief Executive of SEEDA, who leads on innovation and skills for England’s nine RDAs, comments: “Our collaborative approach and ability to support and promote innovative businesses will help drive the UK out of recession and generate the industries and jobs of tomorrow. Through a planned programme of support the Regional Development Agencies have put innovation and skills at the heart of all our approaches to supporting businesses to lead the UK out of recession. The Annual Innovation Report provides a valuable insight into the work we have carried out.”

Both reports cover exemplary work that is being conducted across a wide range of sectors including environmental technology, life sciences and health technology, and aerospace and defence.

Pam Alexander adds: “The UK’s continued focus on innovation will drive economic growth and ensure that the UK retains its leading position within the global economy.”

For access to case studies the reports can be downloaded at and

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