The Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) is the main government department responsible for co-ordinating Research and Development (R&D) in the UK. It is supported by several delivery partners including the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and several Research Councils.
R&D is defined for tax purposes in Section 837A Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988.
The rules governing R&D tax relief are covered by the Finance Act 2008.
Alongside R&D, innovation is essential for businesses to develop and stay competitive.
Intellectual property must be protected to encourage research.
There are a number of government departments across the UK which focus on innovation and research. They each provide useful online information for the general public and businesses alike, helping to promote enterprise and science through research and innovation.
The BIS also publishes a very useful R&D Scoreboard, which is a leading source of information and analysis on top R&D companies, both in the UK and globally.
In the UK a wide range of initiatives are available to help small businesses make the most of their research and development programmes.
Businesses can often reduce their tax bills by claiming relief for some of their R&D expenditure. R&D tax reliefs are only available to companies subject to corporation tax. Further guidance on this can be found on the Business Link website.
There are also various sources of government funding available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to research and develop technologically innovative products and processes, for example, UK government R&D grants, European R&D grants, Innovation Vouchers and Collaborative Research and Development Grant s, information on all of which is available via the Business Link website.
The Small Business Initiative (SBRI), led by the Technology Strategy Board, helps early-stage; high-technology small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) gain greater access to R&D opportunities. Through SBRI competitions, businesses are invited to develop innovative solutions and products for specified problems and unmet needs in the public sector.
There are seven research councils in the UK. Their role is to fund academic research and training in areas of importance to business, the public sector and government. Each council has its own procedure for awarding R&D grants.