The new Science and Innovation Strategy, which will be published later this year, is an important deliverable for government, because it will set out how we ensure UK capabilities remain world-leading while at the same time contributing to economic growth and scientific excellence.
Science and innovation are key drivers of economic growth and jobs in the UK: for every £1 we spend on research, 50p is generated for the economy each year thereafter. Read More
Yesterday CaSE attended a Parliamentary debate at Portcullis House, looking at the “key drivers of the UK’s innovation system”. While the question framed at the outset was “Which contributes more to British innovation, research tax credits or universities?”, the discussion rapidly took a different angle, focusing instead on how best to incentivise innovation across all research environments – from large companies to research laboratories, recognising that each plays a different role in driving innovation.
CaSE and Nesta have launched our new campaign, ‘4Growth‘, which calls on the Government to invest the proceeds from the forthcoming 4G spectrum auction.
The figures announced this week showing that UK employment has hit an all-time high are obviously welcome. If the UK is to recover its economic standing, and prosper in the future, then creating private sector jobs will be essential. But what kind of jobs should the UK be creating?
It is clear that if we are to rebalance the economy of this country away from the financial sectors, businesses that are built on science, engineering, and particularly physics will have a significant role to play. The Institute of Physics (IOP) has launched a report, in concert with Deloitte, that demonstrates how critical physics is to the continued existence of sectors of the economy that support more than a million jobs in the UK. Read More
Posted in Blog
Also tagged Guest Article, Physics
CaSE Director Imran Khan has today written an article for BBC News, arguing that the money raised from the upcoming 4G spectrum auction should be re-invested in science and technology.
The spectrum auction involves selling chunks of radio spectrum to support future, faster mobile services and could raise up to £4bn for the government. Read More
Posted in Blog, Highlights
Also tagged 4G
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is today calling for a new short-term home-building programme and a two-year stamp duty holiday. The plan is intended to get the economy moving again, and would be funded with the sale of the 4G mobile spectrum.
We do need economic change, and home-building is a potential vote-winner. But – bearing in mind that it was an unsustainable property boom that helped to cause the financial crash in the first place – is it best use of the windfall? Read More
It is a pleasure to write for the CaSE blog about the BioIndustry Association’s Citizens’ Innovation Funds (CIFs) proposal. I am confident we all share the ambition of shining a light on UK science and innovation and improving the environment within which research and development, translation and product commercialisation can take place in the UK. Read More
It’s no secret that the UK’s economy is a mess. What’s more of a surprise is that, four years into the crisis, the debate on what to do about the economy is still missing the point. While politicians and economists debate the virtues of Plan A and Plan B, austerity and stimulus, they’re missing something that may be obvious to engineers and scientists: that the real source of sustainable economic growth and societal progress isn’t short-term economic tinkering. It’s innovation. Read More
The UK’s schools are not producing enough technologists. Evidence from sources such as the CBI, DBIS and NESTA reveals that many sectors of UK business and employment are experiencing severe skills shortages which threaten our international competitiveness. Most of these are related to applications of digital technologies.
The new Centre for Innovation in Technological Education (CITTE) aims to change that. It will support schools in strengthening the way technological education is integrated into the curriculum – to develop students’ technical and employability skills. Its approach will promote more positive perceptions of technology in teachers, parents and children – through stimulating, collaborative activities. Read More
We’ve been told by Government officials that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will not be reinstating the Research and Development (R&D) Scoreboard, citing budgetary concerns.
The R&D Scoreboard was a leading source of information and analysis on the UK’s private-sector R&D activity. CaSE had registered our concern with BIS and worked with a number of our members to try and convince the Government to change its mind. When we’re trying to increase private-sector investment it’s important that we can see whether the Government’s strategy is working or not.
“BACK in the 1970s, as biochemist at Liverpool University, I was fairly certain that none of my colleagues knew the meaning of innovation. Scientists were ‘supposed’ to study science – not invent, patent, or take products into the marketplace.
As for control of Intellectual Property – well, there was none. Research discoveries were reported on an ad hoc basis to a senior administrator. He and his committee would decide what, if anything, to do with an invention.
The ‘innovation’ process was foreign and, I suspect, somewhat distasteful to the academics in my department – if not throughout academia. For example, I and a colleague invented the ‘Backfriend’ orthopaedic support. We funded the start of a company (Medesign) ourselves without any support from the university. Read More
1. The Campaign for Science & Engineering (CaSE) is a membership organisation aiming to improve the scientific and engineering health of the UK. CaSE works to ensure that science and engineering are high on the political and media agenda, and that the UK has world-leading research and education, skilled and responsible scientists and engineers, and successful innovative business. It is funded by around 750 individual members and 100 organisations including industries, universities, learned and professional organisations, and research charities. Read More
Yesterday (8th December), CaSE Director Imran Khan wrote an online article for the Guardian, calling on the the government to re-invest the upcoming multibillion pound windfall it will receive from auctioning off airwaves to mobile phone operators (otherwise known as 4G technology), and put the proceeds back into British science and engineering. Read More
Today saw the publication of a new report, snappily titled ‘Growth, growth, growth‘, authored by eight MPs, released by the Centre for Policy Studies, and apparently ignoring science.
The study carries some important messages – highlighting, for instance, the importance of moving away from a debt-driven society and the opportunities and challenges resulting from the growth of Eastern economies.
Universities in Wales are under scrutiny as never before. Leighton Andrews, the Minister of Education within the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has declared that universities must ‘adapt or die’. The yardstick against which such adaptation is to be measured is the WAG ‘For our Future’ document which sets out specific actions which WAG wishes universities in Wales to take.
Strong impetus for this agenda has been provided by the McCormick report published in March 2011 which gave special attention to the University of Wales – now a shadow of its former self following the withdrawal of the pre-1992 universities from the previous federal university.
A medical laser device for the permanent removal of body hair has found new life as a home-based cosmetic treatment that is one of the best-selling products in Boots. The device was invented in Swansea and manufactured at the Sony site in Pencoed, Bridgend.
This is an example of a successful collaboration model involving the private sector working with the Higher Education sector, resulting in the production of patents and marketing new products. The Swansea University Institute of Life Sciences have attracted over £113 million of investment, much of that from the private sector. The medical laser device was developed from research using a super computer installed by IBM. It is fantastic to see commercial applications resulting from this investment.
Alan Hughes is Director of both the UK Innovation Research Centre and the Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
It is a commonplace to argue that whist the UK university system produces excellent research it does not do well in relation to its interconnections with industry. The potential for wealth creation is, it is claimed, lost by weak and diffused knowledge exchange patterns and an unwillingness of academics to interact with external organisations.
There is in particular the view that the UK has much to learn from the US where, it is argued, a much deeper and more productive set of interrelationships exists between entrepreneurially minded universities and academics and the American business sector. There is, indeed, some evidence to suggest that US businesses do place a higher value on their university-based interactions and invest more of their own resources in supporting them than is the case in the UK (Cosh and Hughes, 2010). Read More
Yannis Pierrakis is Head of Investments Research at the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA)
NESTA’s research shows that the 6 per cent of UK businesses with the highest growth rates generated half of the new jobs created by existing businesses between 2002 and 2008. Such young, innovative companies particularly need Venture Capital (VC) because they require significant capital up-front to develop new products in advance of sales. They tend to have intangible assets and ambitious growth plans that require large amounts of finance, show a significant delay before generating revenue and consequently entail high risk. As a result, debt finance is inappropriate – but venture capital is an alternative form of finance that is structured to address these challenges.
Creating new industries requires sustained investment over the long-term, continued commitment and long-term resources. The semiconductor and microcomputer industries are good examples of this lengthy and capital-intensive process. In both cases, it took up to ten years of continued risk capital investing before the industries properly took off. Virtually every other new industry since – biotechnology, personal computers, PC software, wireless communications, the Internet – have followed this pattern.