Brussels, 31 Mar 2004
More than 30 recommendations for increasing the commercial exploitation of science, engineering and technology (SET) results are contained in a draft report published by the UK Engineering and Technology Board on 31 March.
The report is entitled 'The frontiers of innovation: wealth creation from science, engineering and technology', and was produced by a group led by Sir Peter Williams, chair of the Engineering and Technology Board.
Sir Peter said: 'Our group's draft report makes proposals for encouraging wealth creation from science, engineering and technology in the UK. We hope it will stimulate public debate and above all early action by the government, the private sector and universities.'
Among other measures, the report calls for:
- better coordination of SET expenditure across government departments, especially in health and defence sectors;
- new government procurement guidelines linked to its research and development (R&D) spending, recognising government's key role in technology development in supplier industries;
- new taxation measures to encourage charitable involvement in early stage technology companies and greater publicity to encourage take up of the R&D tax credit;
- improved funding to ensure more research makes it from the development stage to the commercial stage.
'We want to ensure we build upon this contribution and boost future growth rates, particularly in emerging technology companies. We believe a policy framework that supports their growth and encourages the private sector to play a greater role in their development is key to achieving greater wealth creation from all our SET industries,' Sir Peter added.
The draft report was supported by funding from five UK organisations, including the UK Royal Academy of Engineering. Sir Alec Broers, President of the Academy, said: 'I welcome this report - it could not have come at a better time, with the Chancellor's new consultation on the strategy for UK science and engineering. [...] For the health of the UK economy we must give every support to the creative engineers who turn advances in science into products and capabilities that benefit society.'
The draft report will now be debated, and a final version delivered to the UK Treasury 'to inform its thinking ahead of the summer comprehensive spending review.'
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