22 November 2016
How much do you value research and development in your business?
Science and innovation have always been the UK’s greatest strengths. Ahead of the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, Theresa May announced yesterday that she wants to invest an extra £2bn a year by the end of this Parliament to help put post-Brexit Britain “at the cutting edge of science and tech”. She also said there would very likely be tax breaks to encourage firms to invest more in research.
In my opinion, £2bn is a pretty modest investment in terms of the economy as a whole, but it is at least a step in the right direction and signifies the right kind of focus. With the right involvement from business leaders, the money could be made to work hard for UK science and innovation.
It’s an investment that is particularly welcome after Brexit. Britain has received £850m in research funds from the EU each year and scientists and technologists really need assurance that innovation will stay funded, even if the UK leaves the EU and this funding was to stop.
But, an influx of money on its own won’t be enough, I believe the real benefit here is that businesses are being encouraged to invest more and to think more seriously about investing in R&D. All too often businesses sit back once they start making money and forget to invest in the very foundations of their operations.
Ever since setting up UKFast in 1999, we’ve focussed on the strategy of reinvesting a quarter of all profits back into internal R&D. So much of what we can offer our clients now has come from encouraging our team to learn and develop – and to think about ways in which we can be better at what we do. We offer high rewards for innovative ideas and new development.
In any given week, our R & D team spend an average of 20% of their time on their own projects. I believe it allows the team to take a chance to create something new, to put their effort into something that could be revolutionary.
Obviously, all of this comes at a cost to the business, but I believe not investing in development would cost us so much more. Our competitors are not standing still and the industry is constantly evolving, as are our clients’ needs. I truly think that innovation is the key to our future; it’s what will set us apart from other businesses for years to come.
What is your business’ strategy for research and development?