Find and fund innovation ‘hot spots’ to boost Welsh economy

Find and fund innovation ‘hot spots’ to boost Welsh economy

Experts call for better business-university partnerships.

Finding and funding future ‘innovation hot spots’ is vital for business growth across Wales, argues a report published today.

And stronger partnerships between businesses and universities are the key to making it happen, experts say.

Professor Kevin Morgan, lead author of Growing the Value of University-Business Interactions in Wales, said: “Wales needs to bring business and universities together to exploit great research. The lack of long-term vision and ambition weakens and dissipates the efforts both are making.

“Future innovation ‘hot spots’ must be identified through strategic collaboration. The approach taken to develop the Institute for Compound Semiconductors at Cardiff University might act as a blueprint for the development of ‘hot spots’ involving key sectors, businesses and Welsh universities.”

The report argues Welsh universities have been at a competitive disadvantage to UK peers since the cancellation of innovation and engagement funding in 2014. Welsh Government is currently considering reinstating support under proposals outlined in its response to the 2016 Diamond Review.

Sponsored by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and published by the Growing Value Wales (GVW) Taskforce, Professor Morgan’s report calls for practical ways of teaming talented university researchers with ground-breaking research and development businesses.

David Docherty, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), said: “We established the GVW Task Force to support the innovation system in Wales through closer business-university-government partnerships. This report shows clearly the pressing need to support these collaborations in a post-Brexit world.”

GVW is chaired by Dr Drew Nelson, CEO of Cardiff-headquartered IQE plc, and Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University.

Professor Riordan said: “Growing Value Wales is designed to offer practical help and guidance to policy makers, businesses and the higher education sector and create a simplified ecosystem where industry and research can better collaborate.”

Today’s report complements the launch of ‘Be the Spark’, supported by Welsh Government to transform Wales into a world-class destination for companies of all sizes.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said: “The launch of ‘Be The Spark’, and the publication of the GVW Report, create a strong joint platform for future success, inspiring individuals and developing collaborations that can make a difference to all our lives by creating economic and social prosperity.”

Dr Drew Nelson added: “Wales has a great track record for entrepreneurship and innovation. By launching Growing Value Wales alongside ‘Be The Spark,’ we hope to unleash latent talent in our universities, team it with industry, and seamlessly develop really powerful partnerships for growth.”

About The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB)
Inspiring universities and business to work together for growth and prosperity.
As a membership not-for-profit organisation, the National Centre brings together leaders from across higher education and business to tackle issues of shared interest.

A National Centre Task Force convenes leaders from universities, government and business to focus on a particular economic sector or issue. The GVW Taskforce builds on the work of the UK-wide Enhancing Value Task Force that fed into the science policy and spending review of 2012 and Growing Value: Scotland and its legacy programme Growing Potential: Scotland’s Innovation Step-Change, exploring how universities, business and government partner to enable a step-change in business R&D and innovation.

For further information please contact:

Shivaun Meehan Head of Communications
T: +44 (0)20 7383 8193 E: Shivaun.meehan@ncub.co.uk

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