Universities will need to be creative in helping ideas to become enterprises
By UCLB’s Anne Lane, for Research Professional News.
The government’s Innovation Strategy, published in July, sets out its ambitions for the UK to “lead the future by creating it”. This involves generating the technology giants of the future and helping everyday businesses to become more innovative.
Many of the candidates for such companies will emerge from the UK’s world-leading research-intensive universities and their networks. That puts university commercialisation and technology transfer—which lie at the nexus of research and fundamental discovery with real-world opportunity—at the front line of the strategy’s delivery.
The strategy highlights the COVID-19 vaccines programme as the model for a number of innovation missions aimed at national and global challenges. The government hopes to see the UK’s academic expertise applied to a known problem with set goals, backed up by the private sector and supported across the whole of government.
This challenge-led approach can help universities to focus their resources to invent solutions to these problems, particularly if their contributions are reflected in key metrics such as the Research Excellence Framework.