The 2007 Annual Report of the Government's Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-2014 was published in July 2007.
Below are extracts of the report that are of particular relevance to the KTN community. The full report is available by following this link.
- The Technology Strategy Board
- Research Council Knowledge Transfer Plans
- The Sainsbury Review
- Service Industries
- Global Markets and Foreign Invstment in R&D
- Council for Science and Technology
- Science and Innovation Strategies
- Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)
The Technology Strategy Board
The business-led Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has a key role in supporting business R&D and innovation, and identifying investment priorities in emerging areas of technology which have the potential to drive future economic growth.
The Technology Strategy Board has supported eight Collaborative R&D competitions announced to date with two new competitions announced in the last twelve months, £50 million in November 2006 and £100 million in April 2007. Over 600 Collaborative R&D projects are currently being supported with a combined business and Government investment of over £900M (£465 million committed by business and £435 million committed in Government support). The TSB has also progressed the two pilot Innovation Platforms. The Network Security Innovation Platform with support from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Identity and Passport Service and the Home Office Scientific Development Branch and the Intelligent Transport Systems and Service Innovation Platform with EPSRC and the Department for Transport (DfT). Innovation Platforms bring together a range of technology and innovation activities to address a major societal challenge. The aim is then to stimulate business investment in R&D and innovation through linkages to public procurement activity.
Building on this success, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced on 1 November 2006 that the TSB would become an executive Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB), giving it greater independence to drive forward the UK’s technological innovation priorities. The new body was launched on 1 July, and will take on a wider remit for promoting growth and increased business investment in R&D and innovation across all sectors of the UK economy, from manufacturing to the creative industries. The new body will alert Government to areas where barriers exist to the exploitation of new technologies, and may be asked to put forward recommendations as to how they can be removed, but responsibility for the overall direction of innovation policy will remain with Ministers. To support the TSB’s enhanced leadership role as an arms-length body, Budget 2007 announced a number of new initiatives to strengthen the impact of the TSB, building on the emerging conclusions of the Sainsbury Review:
- specific targets will be agreed with each Research Council to increase the amount of co-funding with the TSB over the CSR;
- approval in principle for three new Innovation Platforms: Assisted Living, Low Impact Buildings, and Low Carbon Vehicles;
- two further Knowledge Transfer Networks (KTNs) covering Digital Communications and Creative Industries are being developed in addition to the existing 22 networks, extending the TSB’s coverage of economic sectors; and
- as part of becoming an Executive NDPB, the TSB will also take over responsibility for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), Nanotechnology Centres and some EU focused activities such as Eureka and the FP7UK National Contact Point service, which provide businesses the opportunity and encouragement to collaborate at a European level.
Research Council Knowledge Transfer Plans
As part of the response to the separate RCUK and House of Commons Science and Technology Committee reviews of Research Councils’ effectiveness in knowledge transfer, the Director General of Science and Innovation, Sir Keith O’Nions, asked Peter Warry to lead an Economic Impact Group to make recommendations on how Research Councils could deliver - and demonstrate that they are delivering - a major increase in the economic impact of their investments. The report was published in July 2006 with four key recommendations for Research Councils:
- improving leadership of the knowledge transfer agenda across the Research Councils;
- strengthening the role of the Research Councils in influencing the knowledge transfer behaviour of universities and Research Council Institutes;
- increasing their engagement with user organisations; and
- demonstrating more clearly the impact they already achieve from their investments.
The report recognised that Research Councils have pivotal roles, both as funding bodies and as leaders of the research base. It added that Research Councils are already increasing their emphasis on knowledge transfer and the economic impact of their work but must increase this emphasis further without sacrificing research excellence.
Research Councils UK published their Economic Impact Action Plan in January 2007. Commitments include a biennial user satisfaction survey, an economic impact study, a project to improve the coordination and collective presentation of Research Council support for knowledge transfer and a knowledge transfer summit. The full action plan is available here.
The commitment of the Research Councils to delivering a step-change in economic impact will be demonstrated through their delivery plans for the next CSR Period as part of the CSR allocation process. Budget 2007 announced that DIUS will agree specific targets for collaboration between the Research Councils and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). This builds on the success of existing collaborations, and will deliver a step change in the impact of TSB and Research Council support for business innovation.
The Sainsbury Review
In November 2006 the Chancellor asked Lord Sainsbury the former Minister of Science and Innovation to conduct an independent review of the UK Science and Innovation system. The terms of reference for the Review were to take stock of the response of the UK Science and Innovation System to the challenges and opportunities of globalisation, and to take a forward look at what needs to be done to ensure UK success in wealth creation and scientific policy-making, focusing on:
- industry R&D and investment in innovation;
- publicly funded R&D and investment in innovation;
- knowledge exchange between universities and business;
- R&D policies of Government Departments;
- the supply of skilled people;
- the supply of Venture Capital;
- Patents, Measurement System and Standards; and
- international science and technology collaboration.
The Review will publish its findings later in the year.
The services sectors have grown to become a major component of the economy, accounting for over 75 per cent of the UK's GDP by early 2007. However the drivers of innovation in services are not recognised as readily as, for instance, manufacturing investment in research and development. In the light of an increasingly service-orientated economy, BERR has started, in summer 2007, a project on Innovation in Services, in partnership with NESTA. This aims to deepen further understanding of innovation in service sectors; and to assess whether any Government actions should be taken to encourage and facilitate innovation in service sectors or to reduce barriers to this. The project will work on this with a small number of business-led sector innovation groups; as well as joining up with DIUS, the new TSB, and other key stakeholders from Government and the knowledge community. The project aims to generate recommendations to Government, by early 2008, on how to stimulate and support innovation across service sectors to enable them to meet the global challenges of the future.
Global Markets and Foreign Investment in R&D
UKTI’s R&D Programme will target overseas companies to encourage them to undertake (or increase their levels of) R&D in the UK; and work with UK-based R&D intensive companies to increase their R&D output in the UK through international trade and investment activity. The Programme is deploying up to 20 technology specialists in business R&D with expertise in key technology sectors to help produce R&D value propositions targeted on expressed company needs. Specialists were appointed at the end of April 2007.
Recent monitoring survey data indicate substantial positive impact on R&D activity from UKTI trade services with some 10 per cent of companies reporting increased R&D as a result of the support8. International marketing strategies will target specific business sectors. UKTI published the financial services strategy document in December 2006. Work is underway on strategies for four other sectors (Creative Industries, Life Sciences, Information and Communication Technologies and Energy), all of which will be completed during the 2007 calendar year.
Council for Science and Technology
Council for Science and Technology (CST) is the UK Government's top-level independent advisory body on science and technology policy issues. The Council discussed key innovation and wealth creation issues with the Prime Minister – in particular energy, research and development in the services sector, the role of public procurement in promoting innovation, and how Government might stimulate growth of high-technology SMEs. In March 2007, the Prime Minister appointed existing CST member Professor Janet Finch as the new independent co-chair. Three new members were appointed to the Council, joining 13 members who were re-appointed.
Over the last year, CST's major reports have covered: 'Health Impacts - A Strategy Across Government' (December 2006) which set out how government departments can incorporate health issues when developing and delivering their policies; 'Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies: A Review of Government's Progress on its Policy Commitments' (March 2007) which reviewed progress on actions set out in the Government’s response to the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering report on nanotechnology; and improving the early careers of researchers (July 2007). In July 2007 CST also delivered advice to Government on the best areas to focus resources for science, technology and innovation.
Science and Innovation Strategies
The Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) has been working with Government Departments to ensure that they produce Science and Innovation (S&I) Strategies. These S&I Strategies show how research programmes and other science related activities contribute to the delivery of departmental priorities and objectives and Public Services Agreement (PSA) targets. The value of S&I strategies has become widely recognised, to the extent that some Agencies and Devolved Administrations have introduced their own voluntarily. Some Departments have benefited from drawing on the experience of those who pioneered the development of these strategies. As the wider debate has matured about better integration of all evidential streams, Defra has led the way in creating a second generation "Evidence and Innovation Strategy" which is now being looked at closely by Other Government Departments, to help further embed evidence-based policy-making and delivery. Almost all Departments have now completed an S&I or E&I strategy. In June, the Home Office published the UK’s first Security and Counter-terrorism Science and Innovation Strategy.
Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)
The overall SBRI target is that Government Departments will procure at least 2.5 per cent of their extramural R&D from small firms In 2005/06, the total Government resources made available for extramural R&D was £2.6 billion. The value of contracts made with SMEs under the SBRI was £225 million, representing nearly 9 per cent of the baseline budget, well in excess of the 2.5 per cent target. The Sainsbury Review is developing recommendations to increase further the impact of the SBRI scheme on innovation in SMEs.