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It’s plain sailing for R&D tax credit support

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Nico Fell

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It’s plain sailing for R&D tax credit support

Artemis

There’s never been a better time to be a master of innovation.

Plans to build the world’s most environmentally friendly high-speed ferries in Belfast should signal to manufacturing companies that the UK government is serious about investing in research and development (R&D).

In June, the government announced a £400million commitment to a range of R&D projects, including zero-emissions tech in Northern Ireland.

The funding marked the latest step towards reaching Westminster’s target to invest 2.4% of GDP in UK R&D.

Businesses and universities in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Bristol, Liverpool and Kent are all set to benefit, ensuring projects such as zero-emissions tech for maritime vessels, smart-packaging to cut food waste, and new health products to combat infections get the investment they need to take off.

The Belfast project will see a consortium, led by Artemis Technologies, pioneer zero emissions ferries which will revolutionise the future of maritime transport. In addition, work will continue to develop a zero emissions water-taxi scheme.

With the manufacturing of the cutting-edge ferries, each capable of carrying 350 passengers, Belfast is on the cusp of once again being known throughout the world as a centre of excellence for ship building.

The consortium secured a grant of £33million from the government. With further investment from partners, the total project investment will reach close to £60million over the next four years, creating an initial 125 R&D jobs, and leading to more than 1,000 in the region over the next 10 years.

There has never been a better time for manufacturing companies to embark on R&D projects. The sector has already demonstrated how it can achieve impressive levels of innovation when so many changed their output to manufacture items to be used in the fight against Covid-19.

Now the government is ready to give financial assistance to companies who can help forge new innovations for a brighter future. Innovations in new equipment, products and processes, along with investment in people and skills, is absolutely critical as the UK seeks to meet its target of net zero emissions by 2050.

For Northern Ireland, Westminster has pledged a target of achieving a R&D spend of £1.2billion by 2025.

The Artemis Technologies project is extremely cutting edge and possesses the potential to return Belfast as a powerhouse of ship building. The government should be praised for supporting such an innovative project and the consortium deserves huge credit for its foresight and determination to deliver major change within the maritime transport industry.

However, projects do not need to be on this scale to qualify for R&D tax credits. Pioneering work is already taking place at manufacturing companies across Northern Ireland, however only a percentage of these companies are securing the tax credits their work deserves.

R&D Tax Credits is a government initiative developed to encourage innovation and can provide a valuable source of financial benefit for manufacturers pivoting their products to the needs of the low touch economy.

A total of £75 million was paid out to businesses in Northern Ireland in R&D Tax Credits during 2017-18.

There is support available for companies of all sizes across a range of sectors; but many businesses are not claiming their full legitimate entitlement and could be losing out on tens of thousands of pounds.

At Momentum, our growing team works closely with a broad range of companies across Northern Ireland and the UK to help them get their slice of the millions that the government has made available.

With even more promised in the most recent R&D Roadmap statement Chancellor Rishi Sunak has vowed to increase public investment in R&D to £22bn by 2024.

The government also created a taskforce this month to advise on the UK’s future R&D projects. The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), a not-for-profit organisation representing business and higher education leaders, has been asked to launch the taskforce by UK Research and Innovation, the national funding agency investing in science and research in the UK.

The taskforce will provide advice to the government on how best to invest in science and technology and there are significant opportunities for companies.

If you’re manufacturing opportunities are moving at breakneck speed, R&D investment can help you navigate those choppy waters and set a course to take your business into a bright future.

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