Understanding R&D in the arts, humanities and social sciences
This paper, written by Nesta and the Creative Industries PEC, explores how UK businesses invest in research and development in SHAPE and how this R&D is recognised by UK policymakers and in R&D statistics.
Understanding R&D in the arts, humanities and social sciences, written by Nesta and the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC) explores how UK businesses invest in research and development in SHAPE (the Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts for People and the Economy) and how this R&D is recognised by UK policymakers and in R&D statistics.
This research was funded by the British Academy due to the strategic importance and timeliness of the issue. The briefing highlights how, at present, without the right definitions and tools to measure R&D and effective policies in place to support it, the UK government risks ignoring the full value of R&D and missing out on the innovation potential of SHAPE-related sectors and activities.
Whether it is in the creative industries, financial services or the public sector, researchers in the social sciences, humanities and the arts (SHAPE) make enormous contributions to the UK’s research and development sector and to public life. Now, in a time of economic and societal uncertainty, as we seek to recover and rebuild, recognising where and how R&D occurs is more important than ever. However, as the research shows, the value of SHAPE researchers’ contributions is not always commonly understood and is not consistently reflected in the definitions and models of R&D used by policymakers.
A greater awareness of the benefits of SHAPE research could lead to policies that are better able to exploit its vast potential for innovation and growth. This in turn could help the government boost the UK’s innovation performance, as it works to realise a long-term target of raising investment in R&D to 3% of GDP. We therefore welcome the research undertaken by Nesta and PEC and look forward to continuing work in this area.