Research and Development

1. Main Points

  • Expenditure on research and development (R&D) performed by UK businesses continued to grow, expanding by £1.4 billion to £25.0 billion in 2018, an increase of 5.8%.
  • Aerospace was the product group that had the largest increase in expenditure on R&D in 2018, at £210 million, an increase of 14%.
  • The East of England had the largest growth in the value of regional expenditure, increasing by £464 million (9.9%) to £5.1 billion in 2018.
  • In 2018, total UK business employment in R&D grew by 7.3% reaching a quarter of a million full-time equivalents for the first time.
  • Overseas funding of R&D continues to decline, falling 20% (£813 million) since 2014 to £3.2 billion.

2. Things you need to know about this release

Business enterprise research and development (BERD) covers estimates of UK business expenditure and employment relating to research and development (R&D) performed in the UK in 2018.

The UK government’s Industrial Strategy includes a target to “raise investment on R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027”. UK R&D statistics are needed to assess how sectors of the economy are contributing towards reaching this policy goal. As the largest contributor to total UK R&D expenditure, the business sector is integral to achieving this objective. Progress to this target can be seen in the UK gross domestic expenditure on research and development: 2017 (GERD) statistical bulletin, which showed that GERD represented 1.69% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. The business sector accounted for 1.2% of GDP in 2018.

In this statistical bulletin, R&D and related concepts follow internationally agreed standards defined by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as published in the Frascati Manual (2015).

This release reports on R&D expenditure in UK businesses irrespective of the country of residence of the ultimate owner or users of the R&D produced.

R&D is measured by the expenditure on R&D performed by a business, or the funding received by a business for R&D work. These are often but not always the same. Performance is regarded as a more accurate measure than funding received by a business, as not all funds received may be used as intended.

The term “product group” refers to the type of R&D performed in contrast to the industry classification of the business performing the R&D. The concept of “product groups” is described in more detail in the UK Business Enterprise Research and Development Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) report.

Estimates of employment in R&D are produced on a full-time equivalent (FTE) basis, whereby businesses convert part-time employees’ hours into full-time employees’ equivalent. FTE estimates provide a better indication of total labour input than headcount.

All figures quoted are in current prices unless otherwise stated.

3. R&D expenditure continues long-term upward trend

Expenditure on research and development (R&D) performed by UK businesses reached £25.0 billion in 2018. This was up from £23.7 billion in 2017, an increase of 5.8%. The average annual growth rate since 2007 was 4.4%.

A long-term upward trend is evident when considering R&D expenditure in constant price terms, with an average annual growth rate of 2.5% since 2007 levels (Figure 1). In constant price terms the increase from 2017 was 3.9%.

4. Pharmaceuticals remains the largest product group performing R&D

In 2018, pharmaceuticals maintained its position as the largest product group, with £4.5 billion expenditure, representing a 3.3% (£143 million) increase on 2017. This product group accounted for 18% of total expenditure performed in UK businesses, unchanged from 2017 (Figure 2).

Motor vehicles and parts increased by 4.3% (£154 million) to £3.8 billion, continuing the growth seen over the last nine successive years. The group remains second, behind pharmaceuticals as the largest product group, accounting for 15% of the total expenditure on research and development (R&D) by UK businesses in 2018.

Other product groups reporting £1.0 billion or more R&D expenditure in the UK were:

  • computer programming and information services activities (excluding software development), £1.9 billion (7.8% of total R&D expenditure)
  • aerospace, £1.7 billion (6.8%)
  • miscellaneous business activities; technical testing and analysis, £1.7 billion (6.8%)
  • software development, £1.5 billion (6.1%)
  • research and development services, £1.3 billion (5.1%)
  • machinery and equipment, £1.0 billion (4.1%)

The transport and storage group grew by £20 million (45.5%) to £64 million in 2018. While this is one of the smaller product groups, it represents the largest proportional growth across all product groups and accounts for 0.3% of expenditure on R&D performed in UK businesses in 2018.

Large increases in expenditure were also seen in the telecommunications group, at £192 million (25%) and other manufactured goods at £48 million (21%).

The top five product groups reporting R&D expenditure accounted for over half (54%) of the total UK business R&D expenditure in 2018.

Over two-thirds of product groups saw increasing investment in R&D, however, 10 products saw a decline in investment. The largest 2 decreases were in electricity, gas and water supply; waste management, and food products and beverages; tobacco products which both fell by £21 million. The next largest decrease was in consumer electronics, which declined by £18 million.

More information on the UK Manufacturing and production industry and UK Businesses services is available.

5. Civil and defence R&D continue to grow

Research and development (R&D) expenditure statistics can be split between the civil and defence sectors. Expenditure on R&D performed by UK businesses in the civil sector (£23.4 billion) accounted for 93% of the total in 2018, with defence accounting for the remaining £1.7 billion (7%).

In 2018, there was growth in both civil and defence R&D, by £1.3 billion (5.8%) and £100 million (6.3%) respectively.

Civil and defence R&D have alternative ways of funding. Civil R&D is primarily funded by business’ own funding (81%), with 13% from overseas funding and 3.0% from the UK government. Conversely, the major source of defence funding in 2018 was from the UK government (61%), with 25% from own business funding.

Employment in R&D is heavily weighted towards civil R&D, with 232,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs) employed in the sector in 2018, an annual increase of 17,000. Defence R&D employment remained at 18,000 in 2018, with employment levels relatively constant for much of the last 10 years.

Further splits of civil and defence R&D, such as detailed product groups, sources of funds, capital expenditure and employment can be found in the 2018 datasets.

6. Scientific R&D has highest level of industry expenditure

It is important to note that estimates of research and development (R&D) expenditure by industry and product group are not directly comparable. This is because businesses may report significant R&D in product groups that are different to the main classification of their business according to the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC). The concepts of product groups and SIC are described in more detail in the UK Business Enterprise Research and Development Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) report.

Businesses that were classified to the scientific research and development SIC had the highest level of expenditure on performing R&D in 2018 at £5.7 billion, up £283 million from 2017. This was the largest increase across all industries in 2018 and represented 23% of total UK expenditure.

There are seven further industries that had R&D expenditure of £1.0 billion or more:

  • manufacture of motor vehicles and trailers, £3.1 billion (12%)
  • computer programming, consultancy and related activities, £2.2 billion (9%)
  • architectural and engineering activities, £1.7 billion (7%)
  • manufacture of other transport equipment, £1.7 billion (7%)
  • manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products, £1.2 billion (5%)
  • wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles, £1.1 billion (4%)
  • manufacture of machinery and equipment not elsewhere classified, £1.0 billion (4%)

The largest decrease by an industry, in contrast, was from arts, entertainment and recreation, which fell by £65 million (18%) since 2017. This industry accounted for 1.2% of expenditure on R&D performed by UK businesses.

7. Employment in R&D reaches 250,000

Employment in research and development (R&D) reached its highest level to date in 2018 at 250,000 FTEs (full-time equivalents). This was an increase of 17,000 (7.3%) since 2017 and an increase of almost 100,000 since 2009.

Employment in R&D is split between three professional categories: scientists and engineers (researchers), technicians (including lab assistants and draughtsmen) and all other support staff. There has been a gradual shift since 2008, with proportionally fewer researchers working on R&D, but with a move towards employing technicians and other support staff (Figure 3). Researchers made up 57% of employment in 2008 but their number fell to 49% in 2018.

The 2018 estimate comprised:

  • 123,000 researchers (49%)
  • 75,000 technicians (30%)
  • 52,000 other supporting staff (21%)

While there has been growth in recent years in the number of people working on R&D, this should be considered in the context of a general rise in the total employment in the UK labour market. Therefore, part of the growth in employment on R&D may reflect the wider growth in total employment in the economy. See our labour market statistics for more information on total employment levels.

8. The South East and East of England continue as largest spenders on performing R&D

Analysis of research and development (R&D) by region refers to the location where a business performs R&D, not the location of either the business’ headquarters or that of any external funders.

R&D in the UK has traditionally been focused on the East and South East of England. This is reflected at a national level, with England accounting for 91% of UK expenditure in R&D in 2018, an increase of £1.4 billion (6.3%).

R&D expenditure in Scotland declined slightly in 2018 by 0.6% to £1.2 billion, however, this follows a strong period of growth between 2010 and 2017 where R&D expenditure doubled. Scotland accounted for 5.0% of UK R&D and is followed by £524 million in Northern Ireland (2.1% of UK R&D) and £430 million in Wales (1.7%).

Employment levels followed the same pattern, with 222,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs) employed in R&D in England, 14,000 in Scotland, 8,000 in Northern Ireland and 6,000 in Wales.

The East and South East of England continue to dominate R&D in the UK, with the two regions accounting for a combined 41% of total UK R&D. Together they employed 87,000, which represented 35% of total R&D employment in 2018.

The East Midlands saw the largest proportional increase in expenditure since 2017, at 16% (£248 million). Additionally, R&D expenditure in the North East increased for the fourth year running, up 14% (£55 million) to £443 million.

R&D expenditure in the West Midlands has increased for nine consecutive years and continued to do so in 2018, with annual growth of 11%, at £275 million. Increased expenditure in the West Midlands is reflected in employment levels, with an extra 5,000 employed in the region leading to a high of 27,000.

Expenditure in the North West declined for the second year running, down £152 million since 2017 (and a decline of £358 million since 2016). Yorkshire and The Humber, and Scotland have also seen falling expenditure since 2017, at £16 million and £8 million respectively.

Table 1 shows the change in expenditure on performing R&D by UK businesses between 2017 and 2018 for all regions and nations.

9. UK funding of business R&D continues to grow

The largest source of research and development (R&D) funding in 2018 was businesses’ own funds at £19.3 billion, an increase of £1.5 billion (8.5%) since 2017 (Figure 4). Businesses’ own funds accounted for 77% of total business R&D expenditure in 2018 compared with the 2017 estimate of 75%.

The proportion of R&D funding from overseas sources has declined since 2010. In 2010, overseas funding accounted for 24% of all R&D funding, valued at £3.8 billion. By 2018, this had declined to 13% (£3.2 billion).

Overseas funding is split between two categories: European Commission grants and other overseas funding. European Commission grants, while a relatively minor source of funding, increased from £47 million to £75 million in 2018. This followed a relatively large decline between 2016 and 2017 of £46 million and should be seen in the context of fluctuating year-on-year levels of funding since 2007.

Other overseas funding, the second-highest source of funding in the UK, declined by £59 million to £3.2 billion since 2017. This was the fourth-year funding from other overseas sources declined, and represented a fall of £824 million from the 2014 high of £4.0 billion.

UK government funding of businesses’ R&D in 2018 was £1.7 billion, a decline of £35 million (2.0%) from 2017, representing 6.9% of total business R&D. UK government defence funding remained stable at £1.0 billion, however, spending on civil R&D declined by £36 million (4.9%). The two product groups that benefitted most from UK government funding were machinery and equipment (£316 million) and shipbuilding (£315 million).

10. Majority of UK business expenditure by foreign-owned businesses

While there was a £321 million (2.8%) increase in the expenditure of research and development (R&D) performed by UK-owned businesses in 2018, the proportion of R&D performed by UK-owned businesses declined from 48% to 47% (Figure 5).

Growth in expenditure among foreign-owned businesses can mainly be attributed to the £798 million (18%) increase in R&D performed by businesses with ownership in the United States (Figure 6).

11. Links to related statistics

Further statistics on research and development expenditure in the UK are available.

When comparing total business R&D intensity across countries, it is important to take into account differences in industrial structure. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) produces a Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard to facilitate these comparisons. International comparisons of R&D data can also be found on the Eurostat website.

12. Quality and methodology

The Business Enterprise Research and Development Quality and Methodology Information report contains important information on:

  • the strengths and limitations of the data and how they compare with related data
  • uses and users of the data
  • how the output was created
  • the quality of the output including the accuracy of the data

These points should be noted when examining this bulletin or the datasets:

  • respondents were asked to make a return for the calendar year 2018 or the nearest 12-month period for which figures were available — data for all years published in this statistical bulletin were collected on the same basis
  • there may be differences between totals and the sum of their independently rounded components
  • in some tables, entries have been aggregated to avoid disclosure of figures in which the returns of individual businesses could be identified — where this happens, footnotes have been added to the tables
  • it is sometimes necessary to suppress figures for certain items in order to avoid disclosing data from individual institutions — tables that contain data which are disclosive will contain a relevant footnote
  • the 2016 and 2017 estimates have been revised where necessary to take account of businesses misreporting and late returns
  • gross domestic product (GDP) deflators at market prices, and money GDP used is non-seasonally adjusted; the GDP deflators at market prices, and money GDP: September 2019 (Quarterly National Accounts) can be viewed as a measure of general inflation in the domestic economy

Originally published at

Requesting to learn of how many people are retiring in the UK, 2019 vs how many people are coming into the workforce to replace those going into retirement.


Table 1: Projected number of people in the UK of State Pension age (SPa) or older[1]  
  Projected number of people of SPa or older (thousands)
2018 2019 2020 2030 2040 2050
Women 6,723 6,582 6,497 7,332 8,672 8,790
Men 5,559 5,530 5,462 6,290 7,487 7,560
Total 12,283 12,112 11,958 13,622 16,159 16,351
Total as % of working age population 30% 29% 28% 31% 37% 36%


Important: The table also takes into account planned increase in the SPa for both men and women to 66 in 2020, and the provision in the Pensions Act 2014 for the increase in SPa to 67 to be brought forward to occur between 2026 and 2028. It is assumed that the increase from 67 to 68 takes place between 2044 and 2046 as currently legislated, however this may be brought forward as a result of the SPa review set out in the Pensions Act 2014. [2]

[1] ONS 2016-based principal projections for the UK

[2] see PPI (2019) The Pensions Primer: a guide to the UK pensions system for further information

Above information source:

[original article]

Amongst the half a million podcasts in existence are a richness of topics for curious minds. Here are the 10 best academic podcasts (that you probably haven’t heard of).

Podcasting is a broadly democratic channel that gives voice to pretty much anyone with a microphone and an opinion. But as the medium has evolved, there’s an ever-growing legion of academic podcasts delivering millions of hours of free knowledge direct to your ears.

Runaway podcast favourites like 99% Invisible and Planet Money are dominating the field. But what about the lesser-known podcasts out there for academics? We’ve collected 10 of the best academic podcasts that you may not have heard of. Each one will tickle your cerebral cortex and teach you a thing or two.

1. In Depth, Out Loud (General)

In Depth, Out Loud is an academic podcast from the UK branch of The Conversation, an independent news and opinion site from the research community. The podcast delivers a selection of long-form stories by academic experts, read out loud for your listening pleasure. Lecturers, professors and PhD candidates cover topics across a range as broad as the relevance, usefulness and legitimacy of the IQ test, to how the humble potato fuelled the rise of liberal capitalism.

Best academic podcast for: Delving deep into someone else’s research.

Sample Episode: The heartbreaking story of the flying mathematicians of World War I


2. More or Less (Economics)

Whether it’s politicians’ promises, rail fares, public spending or education, More or Less is an academic podcast that patiently dissects the statistics we hear in the news. The show carefully considers the numbers in stories ranging from whether women average five and a half hours of daily selfies to how Trump uses statistics. In a world packed with dodgy stats and alternative facts, More or Less host Tim Harford offers a little oasis of academic rigour.

Best academic podcast for: Tackling fake news, one statistic at a time.

Sample episode: Missed appointments, Graduate pay, Cocaine on bank notes

3. Distillations (Science and humanities)

Distillations is a podcast that exists in the space where science, culture and history overlap. If you’re curious about science in society, or about how things like asteroids or fizzy water came to be, this is the best podcast for you. Each episode of Distillations takes a long, curious look at a moment of science-related history in order to shed light on the present.

Best academic podcast for: Examining the space shared by science and the humanities.

Sample episode: Butter vs. Margarine

4. Sawbones (Medical history)

Marital partners in crime Dr Sydnee McElroy and Justin McElroy use each episode of Sawbones to explain a different oddity from medical history. Whether it’s discussing medical tattoos or the practice of using fecal matter to treat goitres, the pair sifts through the disgusting and horrifying history of the not-always-too-distant medical past. You’ll be left with a wealth of fascinating medical facts (as well as a sense of relief that you live in the present tense).

Best academic podcast for: Uncovering misguided, bonkers and downright disgusting medical history facts.

Sample episode: Wound Care

5. Future Thinkers Podcast (Technology)

The Future Thinkers Podcast fosters explorative dialogue in the space where futurology and philosophy collide. If you wonder where the human species is headed (and what preparations we should be making to get there) this academic podcast for you. Hosts Mike Gilliland and Euvie Ivanova discuss topics as broad as the technological singularity and AI with everyone from leading scientists and entrepreneurs, to fiction writers and out-there consciousness explorers.

Best academic podcast for: Facing the future head on.

Sample episode: What Happens When We Give People a Basic Income?

6. The Allusionist (Language)

The Allusionist is an academic podcast about etymology and so much more. Host Helen Zaltzman covers topics as varied as how swearing can benefit your health, the unofficial dictionary of San Quentin prison and the syntax of emoji. Among Helen’s guests are linguists, psychologists and historians, and if you have even a passing interest in the way words shape our lives, it’s well worth a listen.

Best academic podcast for: Peering into the private lives of words.

Sample episode: Take a Swear Pill

7. Hidden Brain (Psychology)

If you’re searching for an academic podcast that isn’t afraid to get cerebral, Hidden Brain might be the one for you. Shankar Vedantam blends science and storytelling in his podcast’s quest to explain our thinking and behaviour. From innovative ideas about how we learn, to implicit biases and the insidiousness of advertising, Hidden Brain teases apart the complex and sometimes unexpected reasons humans do what we do.

Best academic podcast for: Examining why people behave the way they do.

Sample episode: Hungry, Hungry Hippocampus

8. Hardcore History (History)

Hardcore History is a podcast that makes the past as entertaining as a blockbuster. Host Dan Carlin puts his journalistic and broadcasting skills to good use in digging up some of the most compelling scenes in history and presenting them in a manner that’ll have you on the edge of your seat. Topics range from the bloody success of the Mongol Empire to the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage.

Best academic podcast for: Meditating on moments that changed our world.

Sample episode: The Destroyer of Worlds

9. Little Atoms (General)

Little Atoms is an ideas and culture podcast where host Neil Denny speaks to some of the best writers in literature, science, art and politics about the more interesting aspects of their work. With a focus on science and social science, as well as a strong literary angle, Little Atoms is for listeners who are generally interested in the world, whatever the context.

Best academic podcast for: Questioning the world around you.

Sample episode: Orwell in Tribune

10. The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe (Science)

The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe is an academic podcast dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason, and public understanding of science. Loaded with intelligence, information, and humour, the podcast’s panel of “skeptical rogues” work through the week’s news, slowly dismantling the world of flat-Earthers, anti-vaxxers and pseudoscience. For a society where truth can feel even more difficult to see, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe acts as a primer on critical thinking.

Best academic podcast for: Laying waste to pseudoscience.

Sample episode: Podcast #186

Research and development industry is a tough one, it's easy to get a list of names online but finding the key connection for potential partners is another 'Lord of the Rings' kind of journey.

Having dug around for 2 years has allowed me to find a few tricks which have led me directly to people of influence within the R&D consulting industry.

One link I found super helpful is the R&D Management Conference, recently held in Paris. For those of you getting into the industry, I would highly recommend combing through the list of thought leaders and reaching out to them.


p.s. I am sure many of you have heard of the 1000 true fans, if not, I would really, really, read this: [Link]