Business-University Collaboration - Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Contents

5  Conclusion

72. Our inquiry heard a lot of good news about business-university collaboration in the UK. We heard that the innovation environment in the UK "has produced great benefits", including a "very strong research base" and that "we ought to be proud about how close the connections between universities and business are".[146] As Antony Harper, Head of Research at Jaguar Land Rover, told us:

    We are fundamentally optimistic about this space in the UK. There are some very good ingredients. The university base and our research base in the UK are very good. [Innovate UK] […] is very good. So our whole approach and mindset to this is that there is an opportunity to be had here with the innovation strategy.[147]

Furthermore, our universities are "a phenomenal asset […] because we have managed to pull off the trick of their having sufficient autonomy, but also sufficient funding".[148] There is clearly a lot for the UK to be proud of in terms of its universities and research output. To build on this:

    The Government just needs to have that mindset that, actually, it does need to help build some new capacity. It is not just about connecting existing businesses; we really need to have a positive aim that we are going to grow some major new industries that can contribute to growth and wealth.[149]

The "sustained, long-term pattern of under-investment in public and private"[150] R&D is also cause for concern. We urge the Government to use the Science and Innovation Strategy as an opportunity to set out its plans to build capacity in the innovation system and to articulate an ambitious vision for this sector.

146   Q158 [Professor Jones] Back

147   Q223 [Antony Harper] Back

148   Q10 [Will Hutton] Back

149   Q169 [Professor Jones] Back

150   BIS, Insights from international benchmarking of the UK science and innovation system, January 2014, Back

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Prepared 28 December 2014