Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Building a green future

Accelerate the green economy by supporting research and innovation that unlock solutions essential to achieving net zero in the UK by 2050.

Duration:
2023 to 2029
Partners involved:
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Innovate UK, Medical Research Council (MRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Research England, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), UK government departments, public sector research establishments (PSRE), businesses, overseas funding agencies

The scope and what we're doing

Through our five year strategy Transforming Tomorrow Together 2022 to 2027, UKRI aims to harness the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to tackle large-scale, complex challenges.  To do this, we have identified five strategic themes to enable working across disciplines and leveraging new and existing investment and activity.

Building a green future is one of the themes. It will accelerate the UK’s transition to a secure and prosperous green economy by 2050.

Partnering with UK government departments, business and internationally, we will build on our existing £800 million (per year) portfolio to fast-track development of solutions necessary for meeting our net zero targets, through strategic cross-UKRI investments. This will keep the UK at the forefront of the green industrial revolution.

Sub-themes

Targeting national priorities

Working in partnership with government to co-create research and innovation programmes that address strategic priorities for green growth in the UK.

Achieving the last 20%

Research and innovation in technologies which are not yet ready but we will need to achieve reduced emissions beyond 2030. We will build capability to address fundamental problems of net zero, requiring long-term investment, including through equitable partnership with other leading science nations.

Accelerating the green economy

Addressing the near-term costs of transition to a low-carbon economy, by unlocking solutions and focusing private sector investment. We will develop, deploy and scale up market-ready solutions, creating conditions for inward private investment through clustering UKRI and government funding in:

  • businesses
  • research
  • skills
  • expertise

Why we're doing it

UKRI has substantial existing programmes and investment plans to tackle environmental, technological and social issues. However, there are clear opportunities for UKRI to create impact at the national level through:

  • clustering of UK activity and the creation of green ecosystems
  • gearing existing UKRI investment and that of other partners
  • leveraging UK research and innovation through international collaboration

Building a green future will fund the multidisciplinary research and innovation necessary to the nation achieving net zero, developing its green economy and ensuring the future of its environment.

Impacts in the longer term could include:

  • contributions to the sixth carbon budget including reduced demand for carbon-intensive activities and land use and agriculture
  • increased sustainability and resilience of public services and infrastructure
  • measurable growth in the UK green economy
  • prosperity gains, such as jobs and economic benefit, are distributed across the UK
  • solutions are ready to deploy for the last 20% to meet carbon budgets beyond 2030
  • environmental gains such as biodiversity increase and waste reduction

Last updated: 30 January 2024

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