Cambridge Industrial Innovation Policy

UK Innovation Report 2024

What makes this report different?

The aim of the UK Innovation Report is to facilitate policy discussions on innovation and industrial performance – and the interplay between them. While numerous sources of data on the topic of innovation exist, the aim of the UK Innovation Report is to make a contribution by bringing together, in a single place, innovation and value-added indicators in a concise and accessible format.

Instead of structuring the report according to traditional input and output indicators, the intention with the report is to include data that provides rich quantitative representations of the vitality of both the UK’s innovation activity and its industrial performance in an international context.

An important theme throughout the report is the analysis of sectoral and regional data to better understand the drivers of national performance and provide more granular policy insights.

While the report does not make specific policy recommendations, it does highlight areas where additional evidence and policy action may be required.


  • To review the UK’s innovation and industrial performance and compare it with that of other selected countries;
  • To facilitate discussions on the relation between innovation and sectoral competitiveness; and
  • To contribute to the evidence base that is available to inform industrial and innovation policy.

The UK Innovation Report remains a crucial guide to navigating the evolving landscape of innovation and technological progress in the UK.

Last year’s report highlighted the establishment of two pivotal new departments: the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

In November 2023, DBT released its Advanced Manufacturing Plan, the aim of which is to support the sector’s long-term success. The plan includes £4.5 billion of funding over 5 years (starting from 2025) to strategic manufacturing sectors such as automotive, aerospace, life sciences and clean energy, all of which have been analysed in previous editions of the UK Innovation Report.

In February 2024, DSIT published an update on progress of its Science & Technology Framework, which confirms the commitment to progress towards total government investment in R&D reaching £20 billion per annum by the financial year 2024/25. The latest update emphasises the delivery, development and deployment of five critical technologies: AI, engineering biology, future telecommunications, semiconductors and quantum technologies. Section 2 of this year’s report analyses the country’s position in international patenting activity for these essential technologies.

It is unclear what strategic direction the government will take after 2024. With the prospect of an impending election, the dynamics of political leadership may soon transform, potentially ushering in alterations to policy directions, funding priorities and the administrative landscape of UK innovation. This underlines the importance of policy frameworks that can adapt to evolving political climates while ensuring continuity in the support and growth of critical technology sectors.

In an ever-changing landscape, the UK Innovation Report remains steadfast in its commitment to provide timely updates on the implications for the UK‘s innovation ecosystem.

What is new in the 2024 edition of the UK Innovation Report?

The UK Innovation Report 2024 maintains last year’s core policy-guiding questions but uses new indicators and longer time series and integrates additional data sources. It presents a deep dive into a different sector: the machinery and equipment manufacturing sector. The report is organised as follows:

  • Section 1 reviews the UK’s sectoral productivity and economic restructuring during the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
  • Section 2 examines the latest data on UK research and development (R&D) expenditure and reviews the country’s performance across various stages of innovation.
  • Section 3 delves into the performance of the UK’s machinery and equipment manufacturing sector, incorporating insights from industry expert consultations.
  • Section 4 analyses the UK’s production of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates and their job opportunities.
  • Section 5 reviews the UK’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy (LCREE) and examines the decoupling of the UK’s economic growth from its greenhouse-gas emissions.