Source Advisors Logo

R&D tax credits for the engineering and scientific sector

It may not be a surprise that this is the sector that claims the most in R&D tax relief. When we think of R&D activity it could well be that scientific or engineering firms come to mind. They are likely to have R&D as their core purpose and tend to have multiple qualifying projects. These firms can use these claims to help develop and test new products, materials and technologies.




million in claim value


Average claim value

Source HMRC R&D tax credits statistics 2023

The statistics published by HMRC for 2021-22 are provisional and have been uplifted to include estimates for claims not yet received.

What qualifies as R&D in the professional and scientific sector?

Scientific research and development, including pharmaceutical and biotech activity, are more obvious examples of businesses that have R&D at the core.

We find qualifying R&D expenditure in the development of new or alternative materials, product development including trials or prototypes through to full scale production batches and the development of new or improved diagnostical tools with better sensitivity, range or accuracy.

We often find that companies need to innovate in response to changes in health, safety and environmental legislation.


This sector includes the following types of business.

  • Architectural and engineering activities; technical testing and analysis
  • Scientific research and development
  • Advertising and market research
  • Biotechnology
  • Legal and accounting activities

Yes, professional, scientific and technical companies can claim under either scheme depending on their size and other deciding factors. Of the R&D tax relief claims made in 2021-22 so far, 83% of them were under the SME scheme equating to 62% of the value claimed.

Yes, professional, scientific and technical companies that have already claimed R&D tax credits might find that they could claim even more by applying for corporate tax under the Patent Box scheme. In 2021-22, so far, only 125 companies elected into Patent Box, claiming £222 million in benefit.

Professional, scientific and technical sector businesses



read more


read more

Professional, scientific and technical case studies

Quartz Technical Services Ltd

Industry: Electronic Engineering

  • Source Advisors identified different projects which could be claimed under large and small company R&D tax credit schemes
  • This allowed the client to make more R&D claims than if they had only claimed as an SME

Read full Quartz Technical Services Ltd case study

R&D case study Quartz TSL logo

Commercialise your innovation
Speak to an expert

Welcome to our new website. GovGrant is now known as Source Advisors. To find out more click here