Bridging the valley of death: improving the commercialisation of research - Science and Technology Committee Contents

5  Conclusions

175.  During our inquiry we have become aware of the multitude of issues and problems that are faced by businesses in a variety of innovation sectors. Each of these companies find issues in funding that innovation but their concerns and needs vary from sector to sector and are often predicated on the size of the business. We conclude there is no single valley of death that all businesses, or even all small businesses, must cross.

176.  What is consistent across business is the need for a clear vision from the Government to provide confidence into the future. Without a definite commitment from Government, business is more reticent about making its own financial commitment to the levels of risk that innovation requires.

177.  The evidence that we have seen shows that there is no coherent innovation policy. The Government has begun to consolidate its innovation policy by bringing more schemes and responsibilities within the Technology Strategy Board. We judge that this consolidation needs to go further and that the TSB should be given more funds including monies designed to better finance existing programmes such as SMART and SBRI but not at the expense of the Research Councils.

178.  We have seen a desperate need for government procurement to do heavier lifting than in providing encouragement to the growth of small technology companies. There is possibly a greater and more sustainable benefits to be gained by growing and developing small companies into successful medium sized ones than in attracting large companies.

179.  There needs to be a coherent strategy across the whole of UK industry to provide UK business with confidence in where they might expect Government support for the medium and long term—whether through procurement, R&D focus or fiscal policies.

180.  Finally we would urge the Government to seriously consider the financial markets and the inadvertent negative impacts that changes to policy there might have on innovation policy, for example how the regulation of pension funds has effectively starved technology firms of growth capital. Where it is not possible to foresee such impacts Government should be alert to the need to detect and to rectify them in a speedy fashion.

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Prepared 13 March 2013