President of the British Academy advises Prime Minister on harnessing research and development in the UK creative industries
23 Oct 2023
The President of the British Academy, Professor Julia Black FBA, has provided evidence to the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology to help grow the UK’s creative industries sector.
The UK is a global leader in the creative industries. The sector has grown at more than 1.5 times the rate of the wider economy over the past decade, contributing billions of pounds to the economy every year, and delivering more economic value than the life sciences, aerospace, and automotive sectors combined.
The evidence and case studies demonstrate the innovative research and development (R&D) potential of the creative sector, which includes film and television, gaming, conservation and heritage science, and design-led engineering. It shows how investment in R&D is crucial to the future success of the UK’s creative businesses and to our wider creative economy.
However, despite their economic value, the creative industries continue to be seen as lower priorities than traditional STEM sectors, both for public R&D investment and as a destination for graduates.
The report makes six recommendations for enhancing R&D, innovation, and technology in the creative industries, which are:
- Public investment in R&D in the creative industries should reflect the size, economic contribution, and future growth potential of the sector.
- The Chancellor and Culture Secretary should commission research from the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre into the requirements and availability of scale-up finance for creative businesses.
- HM Treasury should work with the Office for National Statistics to prioritise improvements to data collection on creative industries R&D. This should support a future broadening of the definition of R&D eligible for tax relief to include arts, humanities, and social sciences research.
- The Department for Culture, Media and Sport should continue to undertake research to conserve the UK’s cultural assets in museums, collections, and galleries, and work with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology to capitalise on opportunities to value and digitise UK national collections.
- The Intellectual Property Office should, as a matter of urgency, clearly set out guidance on what standards or regulations AI companies need to adhere to with respect to copyright of creative content.
- The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education should work with Research England and the Office for Students to review the performance, geographical distribution, and financial support for small specialist creative institutions.
This report complements the British Academy’s long history of work on research and innovation including the British Academy’s Understanding SHAPE in R&D: bridging the evidence gap report, published earlier this year. The report found that current statistics on UK R&D often fail to recognise activities which use the insights of the social sciences, humanities and the arts, in particular the role that people play in both R&D and innovation. It called for a wider range of measures, including recognising and measuring human capital within the UK’s R&D ecosystem.
Professor Julia Black FBA, President of the British Academy, said:
“The UK’s creative industries are an economic and cultural success story, generating new ideas, knowledge, and benefits across the wider economy, as well as enriching people’s lives. To build on this profound success, the UK should raise our ambitions and invest further in the creative industries, including in research and development, so that we might reap the benefits of growth, productivity and cultural innovation.”