05 October 2007
£1bn strategy to drive business innovation and success
The Government will invest £1 billion over the next three years to boost business innovation and technology development and will create a new science and innovation strategy, to help position Britain as a key knowledge economy at the forefront of 21st century innovation.
The review of science and innovation by Lord Sainsbury of Turville, published today, will be used as a blueprint to drive success. The review finds Britain has significantly improved its innovation performance in recent years, but still needs to do more to produce the best possible conditions to stimulate innovation in industry.
The Government accepts Lord Sainsbury’s recommendations and announces:
- A new package of support for technology and innovation in business. The Technology Strategy Board will develop and lead a strategic programme worth £1bn over the next three years, in partnership with the Research Councils and the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs);
- The development of a detailed strategy for science and innovation by the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) which will incorporate plans for implementation of the Review;
- New measures to improve further the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, by boosting investments in the training of specialist science teachers, improving STEM careers advice, doubling the number of science and engineering school clubs, and establishing a National Science Competition to showcase young people's achievements across ages and disciplines;
- Improved knowledge transfer between the research base and business through an improved Higher Education Innovation Fund, building up support for business-facing universities, and a doubling of the number of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships to boost research-business links;
- Better support for early-stage high-technology companies through a reformed Small Business Research Initiative with more effective use of Government procurement to drive business innovation, a national ‘proof-of-concept’ fund, and the support of RDA for incubators, high-technology clusters and business readiness services;
- Increasing international collaborations to help attract researchers from abroad and link British researchers with the best and brightest researchers globally. Expanding the “Science Bridge” scheme to build links with leading scientific nations;
- DIUS will produce an annual Cross-Government Innovation Report. This will report on the innovation activities of DIUS, including the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), other government departments and the Regional Development Agencies.
These policies will deliver a step change in the effectiveness of the UK science and innovation system, and set the direction for DIUS as the lead government department responsible for supporting innovation. The recommendations will deliver benefits for:
- Building a new technology strategy for turning good ideas into new products, with the TSB supporting business R&D and innovation across all sectors of the economy;
- Creating the next generation of world-class scientists and technologists, by launching a major campaign to improve the teaching and learning of science in schools, and ensuring that children are aware of the exciting career opportunities available to them through the study of STEM;
The Research Community
- Continuing support for investment in science, and taking further action to facilitate knowledge sharing between the science base and business;
Small and Medium Enterprises
- Delivering more effective support for early stage, high technology SMEs through government R&D procurement, by reforming the Small Business Research Initiative.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, said:
“The UK can only maintain its competitiveness in today’s more globalised world by placing itself at the forefront of the new scientific and technological breakthroughs that determine the future face of our economy.
“This Government is already investing record levels in the UK science base with the transfer of knowledge into the private sector significantly improved.
”Lord Sainsbury’s recommendations today build upon this success, identifying ways in which we can reach the untapped potential in the UK economy to go further in making the UK a global leader in science and innovation.”
Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham, said:
“The Sainsbury Review presents the vision for a new science and innovation landscape for Britain. We’re going to take that vision a step further.
“We are making good progress, but so are our competitors and we need to keep the UK ahead of the game.
”As Lord Sainsbury’s review points out, global competition shouldn’t be a ‘race to the bottom’, to see who can produce things the cheapest. It should be a ‘race to the top’, where we draw in the best and brightest researchers to help tap into new, high-value markets, based on our talent, infrastructure and innovation.”
The announcement comes as the TSB reveals 75 new collaborative R&D projects worth £42 million. Businesses were invited to bid for the funding last year in areas of innovation such as bioscience, healthcare, energy efficiency and low carbon technologies.
Notes to editors
1. In November 2006, the Chancellor commissioned Lord Sainsbury to conduct an independent review of the UK science and innovation system.
2. The terms of reference for the review were:
- To take stock of the response of the UK’s 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 the UK’s continued success in wealth creation and scientific policy-making.
- The Review will build on the Government’s existing policy agenda in this area, especially the Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-2014, as well as the Next Steps on the framework published alongside the 2006 Budget.
3. The Review will take stock, in the context of globalisation, of the overall impact and balance of government interventions, at national and regional levels. In order to reach its conclusions it will include examination of:
- Industry R&D and investment in innovation;
- Publicly funded R&D (including government departments) and investment in innovation;
- Knowledge exchange between universities and business, including examining progress made since the Lambert Review;
- The supply of skilled people;
- The supply of Venture Capital;
- Patents, Measurement System and Standards; and
- International science and technology collaboration.
4. Further information about the Sainsbury Review can be found on the Treasury website.
5. Lord Sainsbury was science and innovation minister from 1998 – 2006. New science minister Ian Pearson will be driving forward the department’s implementation of the Sainsbury review, after taking over the mantle from Malcolm Wicks.
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