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Technology and Innovation Weekly Political Update 16.9.20

Policy paper: Reducing bureaucratic burden in research, innovation and higher education

High level skills, research and innovation are an integral part of government strategy to overcome and recover from the current pandemic. Research response to coronavirus (COVID-19) has provided positive lessons across the research pathway and highlighted areas for improvement. DfE and BEIS, working with the Office for Students (OfS) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and DHSC’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) are announcing a substantial reduction in bureaucracy to help focus on what really matters:

· Outlining where government intends to remove or reduce reporting requirements and address unnecessary bureaucratic processes;

· Setting out areas that OfS, UKRI and NIHR plan to review with a view to reducing reporting requirements and administrative burdens.

£300 million to boost UK manufacturing productivity by 30%

Through the Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge, the government will invest £147 million – backed by industry funding – to support businesses implement new tech to boost manufacturing productivity, reach new customers, create new highly skilled jobs, slash carbon emissions and reduce prices for consumers. The first £50 million is being allocated to fourteen manufacturing projects involving around 30 small or medium businesses, 29 larger enterprises and nine universities, with the rest of the funds due over the next 5 years.

The programme will also support technology SMEs through growth accelerators - partnerships between the government and the private sector where experts work with businesses to identify barriers to growth and ways to overcome them. It will also create a national network of innovation ‘hubs’ where businesses can partner or share advice, to help spur growth and creative ideas.

Latest Government figures on the furlough scheme

More than half of those furloughed since May returned to work by mid-August according to data published by the Office for National Statistics.

Over the summer, ONS data shows that less than 1% of the workforce was made redundant in every 2-week survey period, showing that the scheme is delivering on its aim of saving jobs and retaining the connection between employees and their workplace.

The ONS Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey also shows that the flow of employees off furlough has been steady, falling by 6% in late July and a further 6% in early August. Further information via Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme statistics: August.

Useful links

Laboratory and research facilities filter in this online guide covering 12 different business areas.

Department for International Trade refreshed Areas of Research Interest document.

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – Investing for Impact – Innovate UK blog from Guy Woolley and Mike Biddle.

Information sourced on 16 September 2020

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