New research from GovGrant, R&D and IP specialist, reveals that 86% of UK SMEs in health-related sectors think innovation is important for their recovery from COVID-19.
Despite this, almost half (47%) – healthcare, medtech and pharma – say the cost is the main barrier for them when it comes to pursuing innovative activity.
The news is particularly concerning, says GovGrant in light of the role played by a German SME – BioNTech – in the development of a potential COVID vaccine, alongside pharmaceutical heavyweights, Pfizer.
Encouragingly, the research demonstrates that 82% of pharmaceutical SMEs are aware that the government offers the R&D tax credit and Patent Box schemes to incentivise R&D and when used effectively, can alleviate the cost of innovation for SMEs. However, with so many still concerned about the cost, there is clearly a disconnect between the support on offer and if it is enough.
When asked, a further 46% of SMEs said the biggest barrier was lack of opportunity to innovate. With the launch of the R&D roadmap, the government publicly recognised the importance of innovation in recovery from COVID-19 and that the pandemic has presented an opportunity for R&D. Indeed, 71% of pharmaceutical SMEs said that COVID-19 presented an opportunity for innovation..
Luke Hamm, CEO of GovGrant commented: “The UK government has publicly recognised the role of innovation in the R&D roadmap, but it needs to do more to enable and incentivise UK businesses to innovate and build back better.
“For the health sector in particular, innovation is at the forefront of the response to COVID-19 that will help drive recovery from the pandemic and we can’t afford for cost to be such a big part of the reason for why it’s not happening.”
Image credit: Dragos Gontariu