Government to review support of research and development and student scholarships

Student scholarships and investment in research and development in the construction industry could be under threat following today’s Emergency Budget.

Currently tax breaks are available for green research and development.

Today chancellor George Osborne announced that the government will “consult with business to review the taxation of intellectual property, the support of research and development tax credits to provide for innovation and the proposals of the Dyson Review”.

Buro Happold, UK-based international multi disciplinary engineering consultancy, warned that its continued investment in research and development will be under threat if these tax breaks are slashed.

Colin McKinnon, innovation leader at the firm, said: “We are dedicated to innovation, but that depends on research and development to discover next generation methods of design and construction and new types of building materials – of the kind that are critical to the UK if it is to meet its international obligations under the Climate Change Act.”

Buro Happold is lobbying for tax incentives to be maintained for R&D focused on sustainability-related disciplines. It has said scientists and engineers are critical to solving society’s biggest environmental challenges.

It added that the benefits of the sector to the wider economy are well proven and the sector is already reeling from the twin effects of a shortage of skills and increased international competition amid the worsening commercial environment.

Buro Happold has also argued for an extension of existing schemes that make it more feasible for companies to sponsor PhDs.

It said without government support via the research councils the cost is often prohibitive, making it difficult for businesses to develop closer links with leading academic research groups.