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Industrial Strategy

The UK's Strategy for economic growth, its Grand Challenges, and a collaborative approach from local government on research funding.

The Industrial Strategy is investing in the skills, industries and infrastructure of the future.
The Industrial Strategy is investing in the skills, industries and infrastructure of the future.

Industrial Strategy

The Industrial Strategy: building a Britain fit for the future sets out how we as Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) will help businesses create a more prosperous country, through innovation, infrastructure investment and improving the skill of our future workforce. See also our leaflet on the industrial Strategy.

Universities play a key role in each of the five pillars of the strategy:

  • Ideas - the Industrial Strategy sets out the ambition for the UK to be the world’s most innovative economy by 2030
  • People - as the Industrial Strategy states, of the estimated 1.8 million jobs which will be created between 2014-2024, 70% of them will be in occupations which will need graduates
  • Infrastructure - as core regional stakeholders, universities are well placed to help identify where investment in digital and physical infrastructure could have most impact
  • Business Environment - the Industrial Strategy aims to make Britain the best place to start and grow a business, and a global draw for innovators
  • Places - engaging universities across the whole of the UK as employers, knowledge producers and innovation collaborators within and between their regional economies

Industries play an equally important role. The first phase of the industrial strategy involved the creation of Industry Sector Deals. These outline the partnership roles that government and industry will undertake on sector-specific issues. The University of Bath’s strengths map well to our regional strength in Aerospace, Creative Industries and Automotive – all having sector deals.

Grand Challenges

The Industrial Strategy sets out Grand Challenges for educators, researchers and businesses to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future. This ensures that the UK takes advantage of major global changes, improving people’s lives and the country’s productivity.

Grand Challenges are focused on the global trends that will positively transform the UK's future in the following ways:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Data Economy - we will put the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and data revolution
  • Future of Mobility - we will become a world leader in the way people, goods and services move
  • Clean Growth- we will maximise the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth
  • Ageing Society - we will harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy set missions for each grand challenge. This provides us with an indicator of the scale of ambition in each area, with national competitive funding for research that targets this ambition.

Challenge Fund

The government's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund ensures that research and innovation is central to the Industrial Strategy. The Fund brings together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time and will focus on delivering solutions to the Grand Challenges.

You can also search for ISCF opportunities and news through Research Professional.

Local Industrial Strategy

The second phase of the National Industrial Strategy is the creation of the Local Industrial Strategies. These are led by Mayoral Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), coordinating local economic policy and national funding streams. They also establish new ways of working between national and local government, and the public and private sectors.

Future funding for research, aligned with the industrial strategy, will be devolved to regional authorities and aligned with their Local Industrial Strategy (LIS). The University of Bath’s regional authority is the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

WECA was included in the second wave of regional authorities chosen to develop a LIStrategy in July 2018, which was launched in July 2019. The first wave was announced in November 2017.

Along with and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and regional Universities, WECA's LIS will deliver on our region’s ambition to be a driving force for clean and inclusive growth. The business community has also been engaged to ensure that the strategy reflects the views and priorities of businesses.

Further information:

LIS priorities

To ensure continued success for the region, four key priorities are identified in the Local Industrial Strategy (LIS).

Strengthening innovation and driving productivity by:

  • connecting researchers, businesses and residents through a Global Centre of Innovation Excellence to focus the region’s innovative strengths on globally and nationally significant challenges
  • developing, testing and preparing for market new products and services through a new West of England Network of Living Labs

Supporting all residents to contribute to and benefit from economic success by:

  • targeting support to communities facing challenges
  • tailoring employment and skills support so that businesses can find the talent they need
  • linking everyone to jobs, training and services through better physical and digital infrastructure, that is accessible, sustainable and low carbon

Providing businesses with the space, networks and skills they need to boost productivity, grow and thrive by:

  • encouraging uptake of modern technology, management and leadership practices to lift employee wellbeing, productivity and exports
  • including more regional providers in businesses’ supply chains and widening access to public procurement for small businesses
  • supporting and incentivising companies towards low carbon business models

Investing in infrastructure that reduces energy demand, lowers carbon emissions and is resilient to the impacts of climate change by:

  • supporting businesses to adopt new clean technology and energy efficiency measures
  • building new carbon-neutral homes, using modern methods of construction and other housing innovations

Local Industrial Strategies represent the response of places across the country to how they will deliver for the national Industrial Strategy.

The government’s modern Industrial Strategy is the flagship economic policy which backs businesses to create high-quality, well paid jobs throughout the United Kingdom, and invests in skills, innovation and infrastructure.


Contact the Industrial Partnership Managers for any support regarding the Industrial Strategy. They help academic staff build relationships with industry partners, apply for funding and manage projects in support of internal and external strategies.

You can also contact Ben Woods, Head of Research Commercialisation and Enterprise.

See our animation on how we can help you work with business.

See our leaflet on the industrial Strategy.


If you have any questions, please contact us.