Mounting economic challenges and significant cuts to funding allocations within UK Research and Innovation are taking their toll on the sector, and steps must be taken to ensure the future of this essential work.
In response to recent cuts, the team at SAF has seen an increase in requests and enquiries for alternative forms of finance - notably lease finance – from research institutes as well as university-based research departments and university hospitals who are looking for ways to invest in research and innovation.
Funding research equipment
Over the past six months, the SAF team has worked alongside University Research Institutes, NHS University Hospitals, technology development companies and UK science parks, who have identified leasing as a viable procurement tool to invest in much-needed equipment for ongoing research programs.
Our team takes the time to understand their respective priority areas, before helping to develop a finance option that means there’s no need to compromise on any of the essential aspects of a project.
Last year, we worked with medical technology company, Origin Sciences, to develop a bespoke finance agreement for the procurement of a state-of-the-art Genetic Sequencing device worth £211,000.
The procurement of this equipment was pivotal in helping Origin Sciences continue to develop innovative devices and tests to aid the detection and diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases.
DNA sequencer devices are a cornerstone of modern medical research and product development. Therefore, the procurement of this equipment unlocks increased efficiency and testing capacity as part of pre-performance evaluation studies, along with continued advances in diagnostics and therapies.
The equipment is also a highly fundable asset. With this in mind, the ability to spread the cost of investment in a sensible and cost-effective manner can speed up the procurement process for the customer and expedite the order process for the supplier.
Working in collaboration with suppliers
Our team works closely with the supplier to understand key financial drivers and budget constraints, as well as the length of their research programs and accounting requirements. With this information, we can develop a bespoke solution for their needs and help support the business case for investment, while also increasing the likelihood of an order being placed with the equipment supplier.
At SAF, our company ethos centres around developing effective working relationships with equipment suppliers to continually adapt and evolve our product offering to align with changing market priorities.
We take the time to understand our suppliers’ strategic aims and the breadth of their pipeline of opportunity to create financial and commercial solutions that allow them to satisfy the needs of their customers and increase their success.
Continuing to support the UK science sector
Reports from the British Medical Journal show that the budget allocation for UK Research and Innovation stands at just £125m this year, “resulting in a funding gap of £120m”.
Research and innovation is a driving force in developing new products, processes and services, and cuts in this area could be detrimental to future research projects.
While it’s understandable that cash will be limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is not the time to put research and innovation projects on the back burner. Funding solutions mitigate the need to find the capital outright and offer a structured, manageable repayment plan that is agreed over a set period, mitigating the need to compromise on fulfilling key research projects.