Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum 37

Submission from the Association of Marine Scientific Industries (AMSI)

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER IN MARINE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

SUBMISSION TO THE UK PARLIAMENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

  1.  Commercial Marine Science and Technology (MST) is predominantly a niche market for specialised products and services.

  2.  The majority of the private companies operating in the sector are SMEs (less than 250 workers) of which a large proportion are very small (less than 40 workers).

  3.  Much of the effort to exploit government funded technology has been inappropriate to the MST sector. Funds have been wasted setting up internal departments to patent, legally protect and market products which are not needed in most niche markets. These small markets are often non-competitive due to the investment required to place a product. One or two specialist companies can exist comfortably by establishing the products first in the market and then supporting them.

  4.  Although the market for individual products is small, the return, as a whole, can be significant for the small companies involved (in terms of % revenue), for the academic centres (in terms of return for investment) and for the UK (in terms of business growth).

  5.  The government should engage more with existing businesses in the private sector in order to make a true commercial success of technology transfer from MST. The practise of setting up "commercial" entities within government funded bodies (often directed by government employees) can be damaging to the private sector in terms of unfair competition and lack of personal accountability.

April 2007





 
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