COP26: What are the most innovative industries in the UK?

Innovations from around the world are been showcased at COP26 this week, but new research, undertaken by Tide, has revealed the most innovative industries in the UK.

The research analysed the 50 most popular sectors in the UK, found out how much each industry was spending on research and development, to reveal the most innovative industries.

The top 10 industries spending the most on research and development: 

Rank Industry 2019 Research and Development Expenditure (£)
1 Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers 2.5bn
2 Manufacture of other transport equipment 2.0bn
3 Architectural and engineering activities 1.6bn
4 Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 1.3bn
5 Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products 1.3bn
6 Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c. 817m
7 Financial and insurance activities 690m
8 Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations 603m
9 Manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment 590m
10 Activities of head offices; management consultancy activities 374m

The biggest industry in terms of R&D spending is the manufacturing of motor vehicles as technology such as driverless cars, better electric batteries, and the mass production of hydrogen-powered cars are being pursued.

Manufacturing of other forms of transport spent almost as much as the motor industry on R&D in 2019, focusing on improvements to rail and air transport. Some of this spending fuelled research into the proposed next generation of supersonic airliners.

The third most innovative industry is architectural and engineering activities. New architectural ventures, such as sustainable homes, and engineering projects into renewable energy sources, are being well funded as the country attempts to battle the effects of climate change.

Retail and wholesale trading is the industry spending the fourth-highest amount on R&D. As the face of shopping adapts to a more digital world, research into new products and services is vital for retail companies to stay afloat in challenging times.