• R&D People and Culture Strategy sets out how to make the UK the most exciting place in the world for researchers to thrive and pursue cutting edge research
  • new commitments designed to attract and retain international and home-grown talent to ensure UK can cement its status as a science superpower
  • comes alongside publication of Innovation Strategy setting out plans to make UK a global hub for innovation by 2035

The government has set out plans to make the UK the best destination in the world for researchers, making sure that it continues to attract the brightest and best from the UK and from overseas, cementing its status as a science superpower.

The new R&D People and Culture Strategy published today builds on all the work already underway to make the UK a truly great place for research and innovation, led by individuals, universities and businesses and funders.

As part of the strategy the government will review the research funding offer to retain, attract and support the very best researchers, innovators and their teams. A review of youth engagement will also be undertaken to encourage more, and more diverse, young people into research and innovation careers.

Science, Research and Innovation Minister Amanda Solloway said: 

The incredible work of the UK’s scientists and researchers over the past year in response to the coronavirus pandemic has reminded us how crucial it is to make R&D a compelling and inclusive career path for as many people as possible.

This Strategy is driven by our vision of a more inclusive, dynamic, productive and sustainable UK R&D sector in which a diversity of people and ideas can thrive to drive economic and societal benefit for the UK.
  As we build back better by unleashing innovation, it’s vital that we create a research environment that attracts and retains people from all backgrounds so that we can continue making cutting edge discoveries while cementing UK’s status as a science superpower.

In addition, the government has made a series of new commitments, including:

  • developing a New Deal for post-graduate research students, starting later this year with a cross-sectoral consultation led by UKRI
  • providing support for flexible, cross-sector training programmes to encourage more movement and collaboration between academia, industry and the charity sector
  • creating a Good Practice Exchange to develop, test and evaluate ways to ensure the right culture is created within the academic community, including to support and develop talent, tackle bullying and harassment and promote a system in which diversity of people and ideas can thrive

Developed in collaboration with the sector, including academia, industry and charities with organisations such as Universities UK and GSK, the strategy lays out the challenges that researchers and institutions are facing, including skills shortages in particular disciplines, limited opportunities for career progression and issues of bullying and harassment.

In response, the strategy sets out how government will work with institutions, businesses, funders and charities to drive change in the sector, with new initiatives to encourage more young people into research, broaden career pathways in the sector and look further into the impacts of bureaucracy on researchers.

The publication of the R&D People and Culture Strategy comes alongside the launch of the Innovation Strategy, also published today, which aims to make the UK a global hub for innovation and increase business investment in R&D.

The R&D People and Culture Strategy was developed as a result of commitments made in the R&D Roadmap, published by the government last year. The roadmap put pursuing ground-breaking research, attracting global talent, and cutting unnecessary red tape at the forefront of our long-term plan to ensure the UK is the best place in the world for scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs to live, work and innovate.

The Global Talent Visa, along with the High Potential Individual and Scale-up visa routes announced today in the Innovation Strategy, provide fast track visa routes for high skills individuals and their teams, attracting top research talent to the UK. The UK’s points-based immigration system also does this by enabling employers to attract the best and brightest global talent to contribute to the UK’s economy.

Notes to editors

Earlier this year the government also launched a review into research bureaucracy, which is being led by Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex. It seeks to identify why bureaucracy has increased across the UK’s research system. Interim findings are expected in the autumn.

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