A new British Invention Revolution turning ideas into job creating businesses is needed to help rebalance the UK economy and boost manufacturing, a new report published today said.
Sir Andrew Witty, Chief Executive of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a leading science and innovation company and one of the UK’s major employers, was commissioned by the Government to examine how universities can better support economic growth and drive exports.
In order to be recognised internationally in turning inventions into successful businesses, the report says simplifying complex funding streams and charging universities with a greater role in delivering economic growth is needed.
The report, proposes that “Arrow Projects” – cutting edge technologies or inventions where we lead the world – are created with universities at their tip, while local and national resources such as the Technology Strategy Board and UK Trade & Industry (UKTI) are lined up behind them to create the maximum economic benefit and to support export led growth.
Sir Andrew calls on the Government to back Arrow Projects with £1 billion of funding, either new money or through the redirection of money from existing schemes, and by ensuring a one stop shop for funding rather than the multiple and complex applications that currently exist.
Responding to the report, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Liverpool, Professor Sir Howard Newby, said: “The University welcomes the findings of the Witty report and its acknowledgement of the importance of universities to the UK’s economy and society.
“We are playing an active role in the city region through the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Mayoral Development Corporation, as well as the Knowledge Quarter and Sci Tech Daresbury, to connect university knowledge assets more strongly to the industrial base.
“An Innovation Plan, to be published in early 2014, will encourage deeper university-business collaborations in areas such as the bio-medical industry; high value manufacturing; and creative digital sectors.
“The University continues to engage with large companies, such as Unilever, through the proposed Materials Innovation Factory, and we are also placing greater attention on the commercial exploitation of intellectual property through licensing and business start-ups.
Cutting-edge technologies and inventions
“The opening of the Innovation Centre three at Liverpool Science Park in March 2014, and start on site of the Liverpool Bio Innovation Hub towards the end of the year, will demonstrate further the University’s contribution to the exciting challenges Sir Andrew Witty has outlined.”
Sir Andrew said: “This country leads the world in many cutting-edge technologies and inventions. But too often we fail to turn these great ideas into successful companies that create jobs.
“Our universities are key to changing this. They are already a major competitive advantage for the country and I believe we could do more to maximise this. This report sets out how we can make better use of the ideas they create and working with other institutions how they can convert those into jobs here which support an export led economy.”