Government response to 'Bridging the Valley of Death' report

12 July 2013

Commenting on the Government response to the Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into ‘Bridging the Valley of Death’, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“We are pleased the Government recognises it would be counterproductive to support innovation and commercialisation efforts at the expense of basic research. To remain internationally competitive we need the best environment for research and innovation in the UK and that means considering the whole funding pipeline.

“We welcome that the Technology Strategy Board will now review the provision of proof of concept funds for universities and small businesses, as their availability is currently quite limited. One of the major challenges university researchers face is developing their ideas to the point where venture capitalists and others are able to take them on to full commercialisation. ‘Proof of concept’ funds can help researchers bridge that gap and establish whether a new technology or embryonic idea is commercially viable.

“It is also helpful that the Government will now look at the role that the Easy Access IP Scheme and other initiatives play in speeding up the application of research. Collaboration with business is a core part of the mission of all our universities and is vital for the UK - especially at a time of economic uncertainty. Through the Easy Access IP scheme, which was established in 2010, Russell Group universities are making some of their IP freely available, accelerating the transfer of university knowledge and expertise into the hands of commercial partners who can develop it to benefit the economy and wider society.

“We look forward to further discussions with partners in Government, agencies and business on these issues.”

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