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Nesta responds to key announcements from the Budget 2017

Christopher Haley, Head of New Technology & Startup Research, comments on financing growth in innovative firms, including a new £2.5bn Investment Fund incubated in the British Business Bank:

“We support the government’s ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale a business. Whilst finance is not the only consideration for young firms, we welcome the new fund announced within the British Business Bank - especially given uncertainty over EIF (European Investment Fund) lending. We also welcome the proposed doubling in enterprise investment scheme limits for knowledge-intensive companies; previous Nesta research has shown that EIS appears to have a material effect on encouraging business angel investing, and that EIS and SEIS have played a significant role in developing the crowdfunding industry in the UK. Although the details have yet to be confirmed, extended support for EIS gives a positive signal that entrepreneurial risk-taking should be rewarded.”

Jen Rae, Head of Innovation Policy, comments on the establishment of a new £10 million Regulators’ Pioneer Fund:

“While the long called for £2.3bn boost to research and development funding will ensure the U.K. isn't left behind, the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund is a promising route to helping the UK get ahead. When it comes to regulation, constant, simple and predictable used to be enough. Fast changing, emerging technologies like AI, and the universal impact of digital and data, mean we need more from our regulators. The Regulators’ Pioneer Fund could help create a better environment for demonstrating and safely scaling new technologies, positioning the UK as a crucible for global technology development.”

Hasan Bakhshi, Executive Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics comments on the announcement of support for immersive technology for creative content:

“Nesta welcomes the government’s recognition of the importance of R&D in immersive technologies to high growth sectors like the UK’s creative industries. There is real potential for the UK to be a world leader in supplying VR and AR services, content and experiences. However, currently much of this innovation activity is excluded from receiving support through government programmes such as R&D tax relief. It’s time to look at the definitions of R&D used by HMRC to make sure we’re really supporting the innovation that the UK is best at.”

Amy Solder, Project Lead for Education comments on measures to improve access to maths and computing in schools:

"We would urge that skills combining cognitive and social skills, such as collaborative problem solving, should be incorporated into the Maths curriculum, particularly as £40 million will be spent on training maths teachers across the country. Nesta research shows that solving mathematical problems with others can reinforce knowledge and improve attainment. This week for the first time the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA,) released international rankings measuring ‘collaborative problem solving,’ showing recognition that these more complex, human skills will be ever more important on the global stage in an increasingly automated workplace.

"In the past there hasn’t been enough emphasis placed on encouraging an interest in and love of maths, and on improving maths confidence. Nesta has recently been working with Tata to launch a national ‘crystal maze’ style maths challenge called Cracking the Code to get young people excited about maths and all the possibilities it can open up."

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