Research and Development (R&D) – Opinion Piece

In the same way that investment in new equipment is considered by some to be risky, research and development (R&D) is often branded with the same perilous label.

Our business has been built on both measured risk-taking on or after R&D, and gut instinct for what is right to protect our future growth, strategy, and profitability. In my mind, R&D should be used as a proxy to blatant risk taking, whilst also following instinct and passion. Of course, these three fundamental measurements may not correlate positively, but they will highlight consistencies and give clarity.

R&D provides us with powerful knowledge and insights, leads to improvements within our existing processes where efficiency can be increased, and costs reduced. It also allows us to develop new products and services to enable us to constantly thrive in competitive markets.

For sure, the cost of innovation through R&D can be greater than anticipated and after significant work to determine feasibility, the result may be an unworkable product that is too expensive. Nevertheless, this cost is heavily supported by a government R&D tax credit scheme allowing recovery of circa 25% of true R&D costs.

So, I firmly believe that R&D plays a critical role in the innovation process. It is essentially an investment in technology and future capabilities which is transformed into new opportunity. It really is the key for a green and growing future rather than becoming ripe and rotting… yes, innovation can be risky, but not innovating is riskier!

So, we invite you, whether you’re customer, competitor and have only just stumbled across Swanline Group, to send in your ideas for our next R&D project. If there is something you think should exist in our industry, but doesn’t, then we want to hear about it and see whether we can make your idea a reality. Contact us on r&


– Nick Kirby, CEO