DTI looks at role of public research

February 19, 1999

The exploitation of research from public sector research establishments is to come under scrutiny from the Department of Trade and Industry and the Treasury.

John Baker, chairman of the pharmaceutical firm Medeva, is heading the study. Science minister Lord Sainsbury said the investigation will lead to recommendations for more commercialisation.

Lord Sainsbury said: "We need to identify the barriers to commercialising research and make sure the PSREs share the best ways of overcoming them."

The probe will look at research contracts between public laboratories and their sponsors, such as the research councils, as well as technology transfer and entrepreneurial incentives for laboratory staff. It will also give guidance on exploiting government assets and suggestions for closer co operation with the private sector Mr Baker is expected to report his findings later this year. The last government's "prior options" study on the prospects for privatising more than 40 public sector research establishments was heavily criticised.

A DTI spokeswoman said that the new appraisal was very different. It was about helping PSREs to be more effective at technology transfer and encouraging the private sector to use the establishment's expertise more.

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