Innovators lag behind foreign peers

October 31, 1997

While others are being encouraged to carve out their own careers by setting up in business.

THERE is no room for complacency when it comes to commercially exploiting the UK's research base, says the government.

In its response to the Lords select committee on science and technology's report The Innovation-Exploitation Barrier, the government says much still needs to be done to achieve global competitiveness, stressing that the UK must exploit much more of its research and encourage the growth of many more small, high-tech businesses.

This can only be attained, says the government, through lasting partnerships between industry and science and engineering, supported by links between the government and business. The response includes details of a Department of Trade and Industry study of collaboration between higher education and business which aims to outline effective cooperation. The results will be published next year and will be the basis for encouraging best practice. The government sets out several other aims:

* to prioritise spending on Foresight, which helps universities exploit their ideas.

* universities and colleges should consider how academics engaged in technology transfer are rewarded.

* researchers should be taught about about business and finance.

* universities and individuals should be advised on how to manage intellectual property rights. The government's Pounds 1.1 million Intellectual Property Rights programme aims to improve access to finance and help fledgling high-tech firms.

The Innovation-Expoitation Barrier, Cm3786, Pounds 4.80.

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