Research and Development (R&D)

Working in Europe | Research Landscape | United Kingdom

The UK has a thriving private sector, with businesses from all areas encouraged to invest in innovation. This ranges from research in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, to research in software. If you are considering a research career in industry, the UK has a lot to offer.

How is business R&D supported in the UK?

Innovation plays a key role in the creation of a knowledge based economy, and the long-term vision for UK science and innovation is part of the government’s plan for growth part of the Science and Innovation Network (SIN).

What does the UK do?

Two of the main tenants for the long-term vision of science and innovation in the UK are

  • to maintain the delivery of world-class research
  • increase the links between business and the research base.

The UK government currently supports industrial R&D through

  • The GovTech Catalyst
  • Grants for businesses, which allow businesses to gain access to expertise from academic establishments.
  • Catapult Centres are a network of world-leading UK technology and innovation centres that help businesses transform ideas into products and services.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

The CBI helps to raise awareness of innovation as a key part of business success by promoting best practice, lobbying government and providing networking activities.


In order to make the UK more innovative, NESTA invests in early-stage companies, informs and shapes policy, and delivers practical programmes that inspire others to solve the big challenges of the future.

External links

Find out about different research sectors from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Confederation of British Industry