The world is changing, and changing fast. Our population is growing, people are living longer, our climate is changing, and our energy supplies and food resource is running low.
The Industrial Strategy has a role here
The government’s modern Industrial Strategy is helping to bring us together in a coordinated and concerted effort to tackle these global challenges. Individuals, communities and companies all have a role to play in tackling these issues, but we will not solve them by working in silos and doing things the way we always have.
Recognising the need to bring industry and academia together
As the pace of scientific discovery and innovation increases rapidly across the world, the UK’s world leading research and innovation community is beginning to recognise the necessity of working across scientific disciplines, and across all sectors of our industry so there is a seamless progression from lab bench to marketplace to meet these challenges.
Practising what we preach
We’ve taken this to heart in UK Research and Innovation and put collaboration and partnership at the centre of what we do.
By working in partnership with government, businesses, universities and other research organisations we create the best possible environment for innovation to flourish and generate real-world impact.
We commercialise the brilliant ideas that come from our research base and ensure entrepreneurs and innovators can find the latest knowledge and research to help them solve the intractable problems of today.
And we help those innovators boost productivity and create high-value jobs and economic growth.
No longer the poor relation
I’ve heard that the transfer of knowledge and discoveries from universities out to businesses is often considered the poorer cousin to teaching and research in some academic institutions.
But according to the latest The Higher Education Business & Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey, people both in business and the research base are beginning to realise that knowledge exchange is just as essential as great teaching and excellent research, with income for universities from HE-BCI activity raising by more than £1bn over the last 10 years.
Increasing the effectiveness of public funding
To make this sort of closer working between industry and academia the norm, colleagues at Research England are developing a Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) that will increase efficiency and effectiveness in use of public funding for this sort of collaboration in future.
I encourage you to take part in the Knowledge Exchange Framework consultation survey (deadline 14th March 2019).
Delivering the science that business needs
At Innovate UK we are working hard to increase this sort of partnership working too. We are strengthening UK science and business innovation through the £1.7bn Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).
The fund is tackling the biggest challenges that society and industries face today and is powered by multi-disciplinary research and collaboration between academics and business.
It is developing UK industries that are fit for the future, driving progress in technologies where the UK can become a world-leader in their research and commercialisation.
Building on our key areas of strength
By being mission orientated, the ISCF provides an opportunity to build on the UK’s competitive advantage in key areas of research and business strength and develop innovative ideas that will transform industries and create whole new ones.
We are already seeing the benefit of bringing researchers and innovators together. Whether it’s creating the next generation of batteries to power electric vehicles or delivering new technologies that could revolutionize how we construct our homes, offices and factories of the future. These are very different challenges, but they share the goal of radically altering how our industries operate.
This sort of cross-connectivity will soon become the norm, and I for one cannot wait to see the results of these new ways of working.
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