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Research impact


Research & Development study by David Connell of the Centre for Business Research at Cambridge Judge Business School is cited by UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in a high-profile lecture.

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A study on lagging Research & Development (R&D) spending by UK business conducted by David Connell, Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Business Research at Cambridge Judge Business School, was cited by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in a prestigious lecture.

In the Mais Lecture at Bayes Business School in London, Sunak said that the UK government will deliver its pledge to increase public investment in R&D to £22 billion a year.

David Connell.
Dr David Connell

“But the target for government investment in R&D is only part of the story,” he said. “In fact, our overriding challenge is increasing the amount of business investment in R&D. It is this investment that will ultimately drive the jobs, productivity, and growth of the future, and here we are significantly lagging. Self-financed business R&D as a percent of GDP is less than half the OECD average.

“And as Cambridge economist Dr David Connell’s research shows, whilst other nations’ businesses have increased the share of GDP they devote to R&D investment by 50% in recent decades, UK business investment in R&D has stayed flat or even fallen,” the Chancellor said, highlighting the impact of Cambridge Judge research on policymaking and debate.

Sunak said that the UK tax regime for R&D investment is generous, compared to other nations, but “in spite of spending huge and rapidly growing sums, clearly it is not working as well as it should. In the UK, business spending on R&D amounts to just four times the value of R&D tax relief. The OECD average? 15 times.”

The cited report authored by David Connell, issued in May 2021, is entitled Is the UK’s flagship industrial policy a costly failure? An independent reappraisal of the objectives, theory, practice and impact of the UK’s £7.3 billion a year R&D tax credits and £1.1 billion a year patent box schemes.

The annual Mais Lecture has been hosted since 1978 by Bayes Business School (formerly known as Cass Business School), part of City University of London, and was named in honour of Lord Mais, the 645th Lord Mayor of the City of London.