Efforts to boost UK innovation announced

Posted on 9 Nov 2015 by Victoria Fitzgerald

Business Secretary Sajid Javid today announced a new national panel of innovation expertise and a regional review of the UK’s science capabilities to help make Britain the best place in Europe to innovate.

Speaking at Innovate UK’s annual conference, Javid celebrated the UK’s position as a global innovation leader – attracting as much overseas investment in R&D activity as Canada; Finland; Japan; China; Russia, and Denmark combined.

He also revealed how a national panel of expertise to help direct funding and improve the outcome of public investment would secure the UK’s leading position, and invited applications from organisations up and down the country to conduct Science and Innovation Audits for their region.

The Business Secretary commented: “The UK is embracing new technologies and leading the world in innovation, but we must not be complacent and must look to the long term future of Research & Development to support our jobs and industries.

“As a “One Nation Government” we want every region of the UK to maximise opportunity for its local people through its innovation strengths, and the new Science and Innovation Audits will ensure that public investment is doing just that. By taking stock of our assets and supporting best practice and expertise, we will propel the UK to the forefront of the global innovation race.”

Sajid Javid, Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Sajid Javid, Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Science and Innovation Audits will help local organisations map their research and innovation strengths and identify areas of potential global competitive advantage.

These audits will provide an evidence base for decision making on local innovation priorities, help strengthen future bids for local investment, and foster collaboration between universities, local businesses and other regional organisations.

Javid also announced the creation of a new independent Smart Specialisation hub that will bring together the country’s leading experts, businesses, universities, investors and Catapults to share best practice in innovation and help access national and international investment.

By identifying local needs these new bodies will ensure no part of the country is left behind and that funding is directed where it has the best impact on people’s lives.

These new steps will build on the Government’s commitment to real-terms investment of almost £7bn in science capital up to 2021 and the work of Innovate UK, which has already helped more than 5,000 companies unlock new potential.