Developing the UK’s R&D Roadmap

The RSE, in partnership with the Learned Society of Wales (LSW), Royal Irish Academy (RIA) and the Foundation for Science and Technology (FST), hosted an online roundtable in October on R&D intensity in the devolved nations. The discussion brought together 20 Fellows from across the RSE, LSW and RIA with a wide range of backgrounds and research interests.

The roundtable discussed how the devolved nations can continue to build their research base and capacity, foster innovation and engage with the opportunities arising from the 2020 UK R&D Roadmap. The research ecosystem, a place-based approach to R&D, supporting research talent and the role that EU Structural Funds have played in supporting the research base were also explored.

The information gathered will form part of the Celtic Academies Alliance ongoing programme of work for 2020/21 with the aim of supporting a thriving research and innovation culture across the devolved nations.

Paper summary

This roundtable brought together 20 Fellows with a wide range of backgrounds and research interests from across the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Royal Irish Academy (RIA) and Learned Society of Wales (LSW). It was convened to discuss how best to build upon the ambitions and commitments expressed within the 2020 UK Research and Development Roadmap (‘the UK R&D Roadmap’) to enhance research and development (R&D) in the devolved nations of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

The national academies of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are working together to understand what would be required to build research capacity, productivity, and impact in the devolved nations, recognising regional variations within the nations themselves.

The Chatham House Rule roundtable, chaired by Professor Graeme Reid, Chair of Science and Research Policy at University College London, built upon the joint response on the R&D Roadmap submitted by the RSE, RIA and LSW to the UK Government in August 2020.

The roundtable welcomed the UK R&D Roadmap in particular its emphasis on delivering policy instruments through a place-based approach, its focus on scientific excellence and in supporting and developing people and talent. It was recognised that its emphasis on “place” offers a novel and exciting opportunity to develop the capacity, value, and impact of research within and across the devolved nations and the UK.