Dec 14, 2018
Research and innovation (R&I) delivers a wide range of economic and wider benefits to the UK. However, many of the benefits from R&I are not easily monetised, and there are numerous benefits from R&I that are not well captured by economic approaches. There are examples of novel practice, as well as useful and underutilised datasets both within and beyond the R&I space, which could help develop a more holistic perspective on the benefits of R&I.
The UK government has committed to increase research and development (R&D) spending to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, with a long-term goal of 3%. Existing evidence shows significant returns from R&D investment, estimated to be in the region of 20–30%. Although the existing evidence provides a compelling case for the benefits that research and innovation (R&I) can deliver, there are numerous benefits from R&I that are not well measured by economic approaches or, in many cases, not well understood. These include benefits to culture, public engagement, social cohesion and the environment, amongst others.
RAND Europe conducted an evidence synthesis to characterise the range and nature of benefits resulting from research, how these can be measured, gaps in the existing evidence and how they might be addressed. Our review and evidence synthesis found that economic analyses are a useful approach that can be used to measure and characterise some of the benefits of investment in R&I. However, many of the benefits from R&I are not easily monetised, and there are numerous benefits from R&I that are not yet well captured or fully understood. There is also limited evidence on the distribution of impacts of R&I by region or population groups and over time. There are examples of novel practice in the literature, as well as useful and underutilised datasets both within and beyond the R&I space, which could help develop a more comprehensive, nuanced picture of the range of benefits of R&I in the UK.
What are the benefits of R&I?
Mapping existing evidence and methods for capturing the benefits of research and innovation
Discussion and conclusions
Review of existing frameworks for assessing the benefits of R&I