The coronavirus pandemic has affected many of the factors shaping the R & D and innovation landscape. Innovative businesses, including early stage companies, face running out of cash due to a lack of availability of external finance or funding, and parts of sectors face being wiped out by economic contraction. R & D projects have hit the buffers due to operational restrictions. At the same time, however, there have been some potential positive effects. Businesses have had to innovate rapidly to adapt to new circumstances, resulting in business model changes and investment in new technologies, especially digital solutions. With digitally-enabled solutions becoming in demand, technology companies have made their products freely available. This chapter reviews these changes and discusses the potential impacts of COVID-19 going forward. In this context, the chapter looks at how policies and programmes could be used to best respond to the crisis in ways that may assist with longer-term competitiveness, and the challenges and opportunities that could shape a recovery that places innovation at its centre. It does this through the lens of priorities related to the 2.4% R & D target, supporting innovative companies, and improving innovation diffusion.
Jonathan Cook and Tim Vorley
Jonathan Cook, Dan Hardy and Imogen Sprackling
Through examining UK policy between 1997 and 2018, with a focus on business support, innovation, skills and regional policy, this chapter identifies three periods. The productivity agenda was explicit in the 2000s with the ‘five drivers’ framework used as a device for policy formulation and review. There was a hiatus between 2010 and 2015 when productivity was not an overarching policy objective. The productivity framework re-emerged from 2015 culminating in the Industrial Strategy, which established the ‘five foundations’. There is a perpetual churn in policy and institutions, both between and during different governments’ times in office, culminating in a new form of industrial policy-making emphasis. However, the chapter concludes that the question of how policy can be better integrated across the key factors that influence productivity remains unaddressed, and there is a need for governance and institutions that can encourage long-term thinking.