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Speech to Westminster Higher Education Forum and Westminster Business Forum                                   Keynote Semi...
Oxfordshire‟s burgeoning Advanced Automotive Engineering Sector also has keycollaborations with our 2 universities, includ...
Separate Short Responses to Questions set to panelsHow can investment in science-based SMEs, often requiring high-risk lon...
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Speech given to 'The next steps for UK Research and Innovation', Westminster 23 Feb 2012

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Speech to Westminster Higher Education Forum and Westminster Business Forum
Keynote Seminar:
The next steps for UK research and innovation
Thursday 23rd February 2012, Sixty One Whitehall, London
Panel Session: Developing the knowledge-intensive economy - responding to the Innovation and Research Strategy

Veröffentlicht in: Technologie, Business
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Speech given to 'The next steps for UK Research and Innovation', Westminster 23 Feb 2012

  1. 1. Speech to Westminster Higher Education Forum and Westminster Business Forum Keynote Seminar: The next steps for UK research and innovation Thursday 23rd February 2012, Sixty One Whitehall, LondonPanel Session: Developing the knowledge-intensive economy - responding to the Innovation and Research Strategy Dr Martin Dare-Edwards, UK Country Manager, Infineum, and Chair, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise PartnershipGood morning, my opportunity to speak with you today presents a delightful confluencebetween my day-job responsibilities as UK Country Manager for a globally leading, UKincorporated, research intensive company – Infineum, and as Chair of the Oxfordshire LocalEnterprise Partnership.I am particularly delighted to be invited to speak as Chairman of an „exemplar‟ LEP inrespect of alignment with, and providing a major thrust towards enhancing the „conversionrate‟ from R&D (ground breaking and more evolutionary R&D) into commercial innovation ….meaning more high value adding jobs, and resultant national economic wealth.The Oxfordshire LEP has a fantastic advantage from having its 2 world-class universitiesdirectly participating in the work and stimuli of its Executive Board …. in the form of 2 ProVice Chancellors from our 2 Universities. This feature was highlighted by the Prime Ministerat the launch event for the LEP‟s in Coventry last March.Much against some „worthy‟ advice Oxfordshire was successful in its bid to establish anenterprise zone in the so called Science Vale region of our county. Responding to one ofthe questions raised for this session to cover, the Oxfordshire Enterprise Zonewillindeedhave clear sector-based focuses based around Oxfordshire‟s Premier league clusters.All of these clusters have deep linkage and mutual support with Oxford‟s universities.The first of these is in „Satellite Applications‟, based around the International SpaceInnovation Centre (ISIC) at Harwell-Oxford. ISIC‟s activities already have a strong link withthe Saïd Business Schoo,l for exploitation of downstream business opportunities fromSatellite Applications, and a growing relationship with the Oxford Universities‟ internationallyrenowned Environmental Change faculties.ISIC is indeed accordingly lead candidate forhosting the recently approved Satellite Applications “Catapult”.Oxfordshire‟s Biotech/Drug Development/Clinical Trialling „cluster‟, has clear University spin-out sourcing and then also direct participation in the implementation evaluation andexploitation (the latter through the Oxford UniversityHospitals NHSTrust).Our Cryogenics cluster has a deep-rooted foundation in the University of Oxford, and in themedical, energy, satellite and fundamental R&D domains cryogenics plays a vital role havingvarious further contribution from Oxford universities. Regarding the last of these applications,cryogenic technology is,amongst others, a key enabler for Harwell-Oxford‟s Diamond LightSource, and Culham‟s fusion research.
  2. 2. Oxfordshire‟s burgeoning Advanced Automotive Engineering Sector also has keycollaborations with our 2 universities, including in the ever more important low carbontransport technologies.Answering another question set to this panel, Innovation clusters are, and must be the focusfor many of the UK‟s Enterprise Zones – part of making the UK globally competitive, andleading in the most significant high-return business sectors of the future.I believe it is criticalin our next steps for UK science and innovation, for the UK to focus our limited resources onour already “Global Premier League” clusters.In closing, I wish to offeran imperative to this meeting, and beyond:A key element of future success for UK research and innovation is to maintain both: 1. A critical mass of fundamental research that pushes the boundaries of knowledgeand 2. Embedding that in a critical mass of entrepreneurial business that can recognise and exploit areas of that new knowledgeLose either and it will be difficult to have a local, national or international impact!Oxford and Oxfordshire are fortunate to have both world class research and a set ofassociated high tech business clusters, and there is a great opportunity of growingboth further. ›-------------‹
  3. 3. Separate Short Responses to Questions set to panelsHow can investment in science-based SMEs, often requiring high-risk long-term investmentbefore returns, be increased to support commercial innovation; what role shouldGovernment play?Short answer:Oxfordshire is already arenowned and highly successful centre of angel and other pooledventure capital investment in high tech companies. What Government can do to assist thisvital source of funding is to provide(even) more encouragement to high net worth individualsto allocate more of their investments to the high tech sector.What will be the likely impact of the Government’s plans to improve the R&D Tax Creditscheme for SMEs, including raising the credit’s value to 225% from April 2012? Could theprocess of claiming R&D Tax Credits be simplified to increase take-up? Will the proposed‘above the line’ tax credit for large firms achieve its aim of increasing private investment inR&D?Short answer: For SME‟s→ yes this will be of great value, provided that the bureaucracy can be minimised For LargerCompanies‟s →the above-the-(bottom)-line benefits are influential on locating and sourcing more R&D in the UK (and I can say so specifically by relation to my day-job experience!)Should the new Tier 1 visa for ‘Exceptional Talent’ be more lenient to allow more lower-paidresearchers from outside the EU to work in the UK?Short answer:Yes it is imperative to lower the salary threshold for the “Exceptional Talent” visa (especiallyfor SME‟s). However at the same time, it is vital for the UK todevote more resources andstimulus to raising aspirations of UK school students to take up STEM subjects, plus to drivehome the message of the value and durability of career opportunities opened-up through theapprenticeship routes.

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