Fixing the foundations: creating a more prosperous nation

15-07 productivityHM Treasury has published the report “Fixing the foundations: creating a more prosperous nation” or the Government’s “productivity plan”.

In it, the Government says it will support the “fast spreading” of science and innovation:

“Our science base is a vital national asset, but to stand still in science and innovation is to be left behind; and we need new ideas to spread and be used as widely as possible. The government will:

  •  deliver on the science capital commitment, investing £6.9 billion in the UK’s research infrastructure up to 2021;
  • ensure the UK’s excellent science has a focus on those areas with greatest potential, from genetics to quantum technology, and has asked Sir Paul Nurse to lead an independent review on how best to make these strategic choices;
  • look for opportunities to develop the UK’s network of Catapult centres for commercialising technology;
  • support universities in collaborating with industry and commercialising research, responding to Professor Dame Ann Dowling’s review.

On the last point, the Government has welcomed Professor Dame Ann Dowling’s review and says it will respond in full including on how to make it easier for business to find help and support from universities and government by the time of the Comprehensive Spending Review. It stated ambition is “that UK universities will continue to increase their collaboration with industry to drive research commercialisation and increase the income they earn from working with business and others to £5 billion per annum by 2025“.

It’s not clear from this what’s meant by “the income earned from working with business” but already, 38% of the research and contracts income from UK businesses working with universities is generated by engineering departments…We’ll watch this with interest…

HEFCE response to the productivity plan

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