MPA commissioned a study for the Advanced Engineering Show to investigate the current situation in the UK regarding engineering companies and R&D funding. The results showed that 21% engineering firms actively engaged in innovation are not taking advantage of the UK government’s R&D Tax Credit scheme. This existing tax scheme allows companies to claim back up to 33p for every £1 spent on R&D. Since there are over 100,000 engineering companies in the UK and each one invests on average £386,000 per year on R&D, the hypothetical sum of unclaimed funding would amount to over £10.2 billion.
Among the reasons listed by participants for not applying, the most common answer was that engineers did not believe that their companies were eligible for such funding (10% of respondents), even though 67% of workers perceived their firm as innovation active. Some of the qualifying activities would be the improvement of processes in terms of efficiency, quality or performance, the resolution of unplanned technical difficulties, or the creation of bespoke solutions for clients.
The main finding was that almost a quarter of the surveyed engineers (21%) were not aware of the very existence of the scheme. Even among the companies perceived as innovation active by their own employees, a substantial 7% did not know about the scheme.