Research and Development

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon once said that to fail was better than having never tried to succeed. He still sticks to this mantra, always researching and developing, in a permanent pursuit of innovation. His dedication to R&D is legendary, and one of the main reasons Amazon has grown from a tiny internet business selling books, to the world’s second largest retailer (after Walmart) in a matter of decades.

The definition of R&D (Research & Development) is innovative activity designed to develop new services or products. It is an essential part of any business because, though it carries risks of expensive failure, it is crucial to a company’s success. Former international goalkeeper Peter Shilton, the most capped England player ever, said: “If you stand still there is only one way to go, and that’s backwards” – certainly a negative trait in a goalie, but one that critically applies in business. Today Peter Shilton is a regular inspirational speaker at business events. It is a lesson that is being learned, not only by new and established businesses, but also by governments who realise that investment in R&D across a range of sectors, is essential for future prosperity. Two years ago, as part of a major restructure of research spending, the UK decided to put all its eggs in one basket – UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) This is an organisation with a £6bn budget (£4.7bn provided by the taxpayer), with one aim…to create a strategic vision and lay the foundations for collaborative scientific research.

Key to the success of the project will be the outcome of Brexit negotiations; the British scientific establishment works closely with the rest of Europe, and UKRI is pushing for a preservation of existing links. The UKRI is a combination of research sectors, including engineering and physical sciences, medical research, astronomy, biotechnology, the natural environment, economic and social research and the Arts. In its stated aims, the organisation says it is committed to boosting international collaborations and stimulating growth, particularly in areas of economic decline.