The R&D decade: making the case for government investment

We want to secure the investment in research promised by the UK government to overcome the biggest challenges in the world, such as climate change and epidemics.

Our position

The UK stands at the start of a decade where investment in research and development (R&D) could increase by almost 50%. In the 2020 budget, the Chancellor announced that public R&D investment will increase to £22 billion per year by 2024-25.

UK science relies on government investment to:

  • support cutting-edge research, facilities and equipment
  • attract highly skilled researchers 
  • encourage international investment from charities and industry.

Research transforms lives – and the government must fulfil its promises to invest in it.

What we're doing

Action among political leaders can be strengthened with a combined effort from advocates across the research sector. After a decade of calling to protect research budgets, the sector’s approach now needs to change – to secure the increased government investment needed to help research change lives and communities.

Following a report that explored how the public perceives science, we’re reflecting on how our advocacy on R&D spending could better engage the public and decision-makers.

Wellcome and the Campaign for Science and Engineering want to work with others to build a new set of advocacy models to effectively make the case for investment in research.

To help us speak to advocates across and outside the research community, and make sure we’re taking an objective view on our work, we’ve commissioned policy specialists Public First to work with us.

This project includes reviewing advocacy approaches taken by other sectors, hosting focus groups and consolidating everything we’ve learned into a set of ideas describing how the research community might work together more effectively.

We plan to publish our findings in the summer of 2020. We hope this will provoke an informed conversation about what comes next.

Reports and case studies

More information

The EU is a significant source of funding for UK researchers. Since the Horizon 2020 funding programme began in 2014, the UK has received €6.3 billion to support research.

Read more about our position on Brexit and the EU.