Preliminary findings of the Witty Review

10 July 2013

Commenting on the publication of the preliminary report from Sir Andrew Witty’s review of universities and growth, Dr Wendy Piatt said:

“As Sir Andrew argues, research and innovation activity in our universities underpins advancement across all areas of the Government’s industrial strategy and is a ‘pre-requisite for success’.

“We welcome that Sir Andrew recognises the importance of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) developing strong formal links with universities. Rather than competing against each other, LEPs must work together and with central bodies such as UKTI, the TSB and BIS to attract inward investment to the UK. In particular, they should support universities as they seek to build on the UK’s research strengths to attract high-value global partners.

“The UK needs to create the right environment for new ideas to develop and grow into commercial success. The Government should continue to support universities’ efforts to build strong links with business and public services and to establish their own spin-outs and other commercial activities, for example through enhancing the availability of proof of concept funding and financial and tax support for early stage ventures from universities.

“We appreciate Sir Andrew’s suggestion that LEPs could tap into European Structural and Investment funds directing a large share of this money towards ‘excellent universities and research centres’ to support the research and innovation activities that underpin sustainable growth.

“As we said in our initial input to the Review:

'European structural funding could be used to develop, refurbish or expand key facilities, support technology/knowledge transfer and boost the potential for commercialisation through proof of concept, seed and demonstrator funding.’

“We look forward to working with Sir Andrew as he develops the next stage of his Review.”

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