HM Treasury DTI DfES & DoH: Maximising the impact of science on innovation

01 June 2006

Alongside the 2006 Budget, HM Treasury, with Department for Trade and Industry, Department for Education and Skills and Department of Health, published Science & innovation investment framework: the next steps. This invited views on maximising the impact of publicly funded research on the economy through business innovation.

The Society's response welcomed the major increase in funding made to the science base in recent years, including major improvements to the research capital infrastructure and plans for future growth. However, it cautioned that in order to exploit this investment fully, effort would be required not only from the science base but also from others elsewhere in the economy such as Government, business and the financial sector.
Whilst recognising the fundamental importance of science and technology, the Society emphasised the growing need to integrate fundamental research across all disciplines including the social sciences, the arts and humanities in order to maximise the impact of publicly funded research on innovation. It also highlighted that people are the key feature of the science base, and stressed the importance of attracting and retaining the best faculty from established experts and scholars to bright and motivated young researchers within UK universities.
An area of particular concern for the Society was the importance of training, encouragement and motivation of more entrepreneurial leaders who are able to translate novel ideas into successful products and services. The Society also encouraged Government to conduct an in-depth review of its public procurement arrangements with a view to promoting more innovative approaches to public capital investment.
In September, the Government published a summary of responses to its Next steps consultations, including some details of the initial actions it proposes to take in each area.