Connect and Catalyse
A strategy for business innovation
Our vision: for the UK to be a global leader
in innovation and a magnet for innovative
businesses, where technology is applied
rapidly, effectively and sustainably to create
wealth and enhance quality of life
A strategy for business innovation | 2008-2011
03 Executive summary 12 Thinking and acting globally 16 Our customers and partners
16 Working with business
04 Our world 13 Connecting innovation
16 Working with the knowledge base
05 Our objectives 14 How we will make investments 16 Working with government
05 What this means for business 14 Knowledge Transfer Networks 17 Government departments
14 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships 17 Devolved administrations and
06 Our investment strategy
14 Sandpits regional development agencies
14 Feasibility studies 17 Research councils
06 Investment criteria
15 Exploratory awards
18 Measuring success
07 Challenge-led innovation 15 Proof of concept
18 UK innovation trends
07 Commitments 15 Collaborative Research
18 Measuring our impact
07 Key application areas and Development
07 What this means for business 15 Large projects and demonstrators 19 In conclusion
08 Innovation Platforms 15 Centres
08 Challenge competitions 15 Standards, regulation and
08 Delivering innovation measurement
09 Technology-inspired innovation
09 Key technology areas
09 What this means for business
09 Emerging technologies and industries
10 The innovation climate
10 Commitments The Technology Strategy Board is an
10 Knowledge exchange executive non-departmental public
11 Networks body sponsored by the Department for
11 Clusters Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS).
For more information, visit:
Technology Strategy Board
B1, North Star House
North Star Avenue
Tel: 01793 442700
Contents | 01
A strategy for business innovation | 2008-2011
The Technology Strategy Board has Innovation, the successful exploitation of
already come a long way. We inherited new ideas, underpins economic growth.
from government a strong foundation Our job is to ensure that the UK is in
of successful programmes promoting the forefront of innovation enabled by
innovation, on which to build. Now, we technology. To achieve this, we will help
have new vision and ambition. We want to businesses on their journeys of discovery.
make the UK a global leader in innovation.
That is our destination; this strategic plan
is our roadmap for the coming few years. • By providing strategic innovation
leadership and investment
The journey will involve experimentation and
discovery; success and disappointment; • By bringing people together in
challenge and solution; risk and reward. partnership and working across
business, government and the
research community We have listened to many businesses
and partner organisations about what
• By ensuring that the UK has the is needed; thank you for all your input.
necessary capability in key technologies Informed by all we have heard, we believe
• By taking a global perspective that we need to connect and to catalyse.
And in doing so we are focusing on three
• By investing in networks and specific areas: innovation in response
knowledge exchange to societal and economic challenges;
• By promoting the importance of innovation inspired by the existing and
innovation and technology. emerging technologies where the UK
leads or could lead; and the ‘climate’ or
We are building on Lord Sainsbury’s culture in which innovation can grow.
review ‘The Race to the Top’, the DIUS
white paper ‘Innovation Nation’ and the These themes are at the core of the
BERR strategy document ‘Enterprise: strategy outlined in this document. It’s an
Unlocking the UK’s Talent’. And we take exciting, important journey which we are all
into account leading reports from bodies making together, and it begins now.
such as the Commission on Environmental Iain Gray
Markets and Economic Performance. Chief Executive
Technology Strategy Board
02 | Introduction
NoveLELS is a collaborative project led by Enfis Ltd, which is establishing the techniques needed for the
commercial production of solid-state lighting units. These innovative technologies will deliver energy efficient
environmentally friendly, long lifetime lighting with wide applications in the aerospace and computer industries and
beyond. 50% of the project cost is Technology Strategy Board investment.
We aim to make the UK a global leader in Over the next three years we will: A message we consistently get from
innovation. This strategic plan outlines business is to keep it simple. With
• Increase our focus on challenge-led
how we will promote and invest in our focus on innovation enabled by
innovation and helping business find
innovation enabled by technology for technology, we will:
opportunities in societal challenges
the benefit of business, to increase
such as climate change and the • Understand the support required by
sustainable economic growth and to
ageing population business and provide a coherent
improve quality of life.
view of what is available, from us
• Double the number of Innovation
We will provide leadership to invest in and from others
Platforms, which take a new cross-
new ideas, build networks, and promote cutting approach to these challenges • Ensure that our support is flexible and
knowledge exchange. meets the needs of business
• Develop strategies in key market
We will act as a catalyst to stimulate new application areas representing major • Simplify and streamline our delivery
areas of activity for business and provide a societal or economic challenges to
longer-term view of future technology and • Invest in some areas with a higher level
innovation needs across the UK economy of risk, as part of a balanced portfolio
and globally. • Understand, strengthen and invest
• Evaluate our investments to keep
in the UK’s capabilities in core,
Working with the regional development them effective
agencies and the research councils, we • Work with partners to make businesses
will jointly invest over £1 billion in the next • Develop and implement a strategy to
in the UK more open to innovation and
three years. Our proven ability to obtain promote the rapid commercialisation of
share with them the credit for what we
matching private sector investment will emerging technologies and industries
at least double that to over £2 billion. In • Carry out a strategic review of the
‘Business as usual’ will not achieve
addition, we will continue to work with Knowledge Transfer Networks and
our vision for innovation in the UK.
government departments, the devolved reinforce and extend their role
We plan to stimulate a debate about
administrations and other funding partners
• Double the number of Knowledge the appropriate scale of ambition and
to increase the overall total.
Transfer Partnerships and increase how to measure progress.
With a wide remit covering the whole of the their flexibility
This strategic plan is the beginning of
UK economy, we will have to make choices.
• Pilot a reformed Small Business a long-term programme of action. The
This document sets out our priorities.
Research Initiative rewards are potentially far-reaching. The
We plan to invest according to three Technology Strategy Board welcomes the
• Work to maximise the positive impact of
main strategic themes: innovation led challenge. We are confident in the UK’s
government procurement on innovation
by challenges; innovation inspired by ability to deliver.
technology; and the innovation climate. • Think and act globally.
We aim for our annual investment to be
targeted in these areas, in a ratio of 50%,
25% and 25% respectively by 2011.
Executive Summary | 03
A strategy for business innovation | 2008-2011
The world is changing rapidly. Climate Innovation takes many forms and has
change, globalisation, the ageing many drivers. For the UK to achieve its full
population and worries over security pose potential, we need to focus on:
major societal challenges for us all.
Businesses face additional challenges,
including rising energy and raw material Treating the societal and economic
costs, growing competition, the search for challenges of the future not just as
talent and skills, ever more sophisticated threats, but as opportunities for innovative
consumers, and a perpetual revolution in solutions that enhance quality of life and
business models and methods. increase wealth
But where there are challenges, there
are opportunities. The businesses most
A collaborative research and development project likely to succeed are those which see Maintaining core expertise and leading
led by Wireless Fibre Systems Ltd is developing the challenges most clearly, embrace edge technologies to underpin UK
innovative underwater telecommunications devices
using advanced radio technology. The picture shows innovative ideas and adopt cutting-edge business growth and to invest in the next
early trials of an underwater broadband data link at technologies – in a climate of confidence, generation of technologies and industries
Deep Sea World, with resident shark looking on. aspiration and intellectual enquiry. The
task of the Technology Strategy Board is to The innovation climate
help them succeed.
Fostering a national confidence in the
Our vision is for the UK to be is a power of innovation to create opportunities
global leader in innovation and a and raise sustainable economic growth,
magnet for innovative businesses, and a commitment to making that happen.
where technology is applied rapidly,
Our task at the Technology Strategy
effectively and sustainably to create
Board is to connect and catalyse. As an
wealth and enhance quality of life.
organisation we work for business – our
customers – and in partnership with
government and the research and financial
communities. We will embody innovation
in our business practices and we will
not be afraid to take risks and challenge
04 | Our world
Treating the societal and economic
challenges of the future not just as threats,
but as opportunities for innovative
solutions that increase economic
growth and enhance quality of life
We will: Understand and communicate What this means for business
the drivers of innovation.
Promote a culture of confidence We will help maintain the competitive
in and enthusiasm for innovation. • Understand markets – and why some position of our world-leading businesses
businesses are better at innovation and sectors against global competition.
• Provide innovation and technology
than others This includes areas of manufacturing such
leadership to our partners, including
as biosciences and aerospace, as well
government departments and agencies, • Provide insight into the process of
as high-value services including financial
regional development agencies, turning innovation into wealth.
services and the creative industries.
devolved administrations, research
Collaborate with business and our
councils and others We will identify and grow sectors and
partners to stimulate innovation.
businesses with the capacity to be among
• Celebrate the UK’s innovation
• Work with businesses, the financial the best in the world. We will encourage
community and government and other them to fulfil their potential.
• Increase the appetite for technology expert bodies to understand how best
We will help to turn today’s emerging
and innovation to stimulate innovation
markets and new technologies into the
• Foster multidisciplinary collaboration • Advise government on barriers growth sectors of tomorrow. We will use
and connections to innovation and the exploitation our investments to reduce the time it takes
of technologies, and make to bring new products to market.
• Encourage co-ordination between
recommendations for removing
businesses, and between business and
partners, to overcome fragmentation in
the innovation ‘ecosystem’. • Align innovation support mechanisms
and contributions from partners with
Invest to help innovative businesses
our own strategic activities, delivering
become and remain successful in the
stronger and more aligned support
• Encourage business investment in
Be a high-performance innovative
technology and innovation to increase
organisation that gets things done.
sustainable economic growth and
improve quality of life • Be a great place to work, able to attract
the highest quality people and invest in
• Invest to stimulate the emerging
technologies and industries of tomorrow.
Our objectives | 05
A strategy for business innovation | 2008-2011
Our investment strategy
We will invest to generate sustainable Budget Yet the scale of the challenge facing the UK
economic growth and improve quality should not be underestimated. Innovation
Our budget for 2008-2011 is £711 million,
of life. We will join up the fragmented is seldom cheap. Our biggest impact has
plus aligned funding from the regional
technology and innovation landscape in to come through our work as catalyst and
development agencies of £180 million
the UK, including international links. connector, rather than through the simple
and at least £120 million from the
distribution of funds. Fortunately, our track
We are open to working with businesses Research Councils.
record of success in leveraging both public
in any part of the economy and we are
With related funding from government and private sector funds means we are
particularly committed to encouraging
departments and the devolved confident that the total impact of our work
knowledge transfer between sectors. But
administrations, this will bring investment will be investment in innovation of well
we will not provide support indiscriminately
by ourselves and our partners to well over beyond £2 billion over the same period.
and we will not spread our resources too
£1 billion over the next three years. This
thinly. We will focus on those areas of the
is a substantial level of resource, and a Investment criteria
economy where the UK has strength and
testament to the progress that we have
which will provide the greatest impact. We will have to make choices as to
already made in sharpening support for
where we invest. We will do so using
innovation enabled by technology in
the following criteria:
• Does the UK have the capability?
• Is there a large market opportunity?
• Is the idea ready?
Does the UK have the capability?
• Can the Technology Strategy Board
• Do we have the capacity and capability and skillbase in the UK to research, develop and exploit
make a difference?
the technology or innovation?
• Do we have - or can we build - a strategic presence or a UK centre of gravity in this area? We will make informed decisions on
where we invest and evaluate
Is there a large market opportunity? performance. We will be willing to stop
investments that are not performing.
• What is the size of the global market opportunity?
• Will it create added value in the UK, taking account of the global market potential?
• Will innovation in one company or sector transfer to others, boosting the overall returns?
Is the idea “ready”?
• Is there a clear opportunity to which this is a timely response?
• Is the science or the creative application of technology developed far enough to underpin
• Will bringing it to market make enough impact quickly enough to be commercially rewarding?
• Will it speed progress towards more sustainable economic growth?
Can the Technology Strategy Board make a difference?
• Is there a clear Technology Strategy Board role? Can we add value?
• Will our investment promote sustainability and quality of life?
• Can we bring partners or programmes together to create more than the sum of the parts – for
example in cross-government co-ordination?
• Will our involvement limit or spread risk, or enhance opportunities? Are there gaps that we can
bridge? Can we create challenges to which others will respond? Can we address barriers to
progress? Can we inspire a culture of innovation?
06 | Our investment strategy
We will use a range of mechanisms to
foster innovative responses to challenges
To unleash the UK’s full innovation Commitments What this means for business
potential we need to change many of
We will increase our investment We will identify challenges, establish
the ways in which we all think. It would
in challenge-led innovation activities priorities in each of these key application
be easy to feel overwhelmed by the
to approximately 50 percent of areas and develop strategies which
many challenges that the world faces,
our budget. specify the key interventions. We will put
such as climate change, the ageing
into place appropriate responses, aimed
population, globalisation and • We will develop strategies in the
at generating an innovation answer to the
security threats. main areas where we plan to invest,
key challenges. In doing this, we will listen
taking international perspectives
But the very things that seem to to the voices of others including business,
threaten us can be used to stimulate Innovation and Growth Teams, Knowledge
responses that enhance the quality • We will double the number of Transfer Networks and government
of life and increase wealth. The Innovation Platforms responding to departments including the sector teams in
Technology Strategy Board will use societal challenges to 10 and invest the Department for Business, Enterprise
a range of mechanisms, levers and up to £100 million annually in them. and Regulatory Reform (BERR).
initiatives to foster innovative responses
• We will address the energy challenge, Major challenges break down into
including investing up to £20 million subsidiary challenges. Examples of these
In doing so, our role will be to connect annually in the Energy Technologies and the possible responses include:
and catalyse – and then let the market Institute.
• Promoting UK strengths in low carbon
select the best solutions.
• We will encourage more innovative energy generation and oil and gas
procurement by working closely extraction, by investment in energy
with government departments generation and supply technologies,
and agencies. including our investment through the
Energy Technologies Institute
Key application areas
• Investing to maintain the leading
We are developing strategies in a position of the UK’s pharmaceutical
number of broad areas representing and healthcare sectors
Changing proportions of major societal challenges or associated
Technology Strategy Board financial • Promoting the competitiveness of the
with the challenge of maintaining
investment over 3-year period UK aerospace sector, by investment in
a world-leading position. Currently,
alignment with the National Aerospace
Technology Strategy and the UK Civil
2008-09 2010-11 • Medicines and healthcare Space Strategy
• Energy generation and supply
• Improving the resource efficiency of UK
business by minimising pollution and
• Environmental sustainability
waste, and increasing energy efficiency
• Built environment
• Creative industries • Addressing the challenges facing the
• High-value services. creative industries arising from the rapid
pace of change in digital technology,
developing and implementing
• Evaluating and prioritising opportunities
for the innovative use of technology in
other high-value service sectors and
The innovation climate acting accordingly.
Challenge-led innovation | 07
A strategy for business innovation | 2008-2011
BRE Innovation Park.
The Code for Sustainable
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Homes shows how government, taking a long term view, can stimulate innovation, create
new markets and deliver policy objectives. This national design and construction standard requires all new homes
to be zero carbon by 2016, giving business clarity and an incentive to invest in innovative approaches. Our Low
Impact Buildings Innovation Platform is bringing business and government together to focus on this area.
Innovation Platforms For example: Delivering innovation
Innovation Platforms are one of the • Climate change is perhaps the greatest
principal ways in which we support challenge we face. At least part of the UK government procurement currently
challenge-led innovation. An Innovation response is likely to involve accelerating runs at around £150 billion each year,
Platform is a new approach to delivering the introduction of low carbon vehicles, much of which addresses societal
innovation which targets one of today’s which the Low Carbon Vehicles challenges, directly or indirectly. If we can
major policy, societal or market challenges. Innovation Platform will address. increase the proportion that specifically
It means understanding the role of aims to stimulate innovative responses,
• Another challenge relating to climate
government regulation and procurement in rather than ‘business as usual’ activities,
change is the energy efficiency and
changing markets, working with business then there will be a direct impact on the
environmental footprint of buildings.
and research organisations to identify UK’s overall innovation rate. And if large
The Low Impact Buildings Innovation
their response to these changes, and market opportunities arise from that, then
Platform addresses this.
then supporting programmes to deliver the overall impact could be enormous.
innovative solutions. • Meeting the demand for independent
We will work with government departments
living for the elderly and the chronically
Innovation Platforms embody our and the Office of Government Commerce
ill is a challenge already identified, which
principles of ‘connect and catalyse’ and to help identify future procurement
the Assisted Living Innovation Platform
we expect them to: opportunities with the potential to stimulate
will seek to address.
innovation. An initiative in this area may
• Bring together businesses which already
• Achieving greater security of electronic be particularly valuable for small and
participate in these markets with those
networks is another large societal medium sized businesses. They tell us
who would not normally do so – and the
challenge. The Network Security that a government contract is often better
government departments which control
Innovation Platform will address this. for them than a grant, making it easier for
policy, regulation and procurement in
them to attract investment and grow.
these areas • The Intelligent Transport Systems and
Services Innovation Platform will work We will act on the recommendation in
• Adopt a multi-disciplinary approach
to improve transport efficiency and the Sainsbury Review and put forward
which fosters all types of innovation,
reduce congestion. a proposal for encouraging innovation
bringing together public and private
in small business through government
funding where the two can usefully Over the next three years, we will
procurement of research. We will work with
reinforce one another introduce a further five Innovation
the Department for Innovation, University
Platforms in areas which address other
• Make something happen that would not and Skills (DIUS) to pilot a reformed
major societal challenges.
otherwise happen, and above all lead to Small Business Research Initiative
commercial benefit and a change (SBRI) with the Ministry of Defence and
in behaviour. the Department of Health, prior to wider
We will pilot competitions where we set deployment from April 2009.
We are currently investing, along with
the challenge, with both business and
business partners and a number of public
government, and allow the market to
sector organisations, in five Innovation
provide the solution. Such competitions
Platforms. These focus on assisted living,
will encourage a multidisciplinary
intelligent transport systems and services,
response, bringing together organisations
low carbon vehicles, low impact buildings
which might not normally work together to
and network security. They are charged
create new and exciting solutions. They will
with promoting challenge-led innovation
also provide a way of testing feasibility of
within their respective areas.
future Innovation Platforms.
08 | Challenge-led innovation
Maintaining core expertise and investing
in the next generation of technologies
In the race to innovate, the UK has a Key technology areas • Invest in UK strengths in control
stock of assets that few nations can systems and power engineering, plastic
We will invest in specific key
match. Our best universities, and the electronics, displays and lighting, data
wider research base in both the public and image acquisition, integration and
and the private sector, have few rivals. • Advanced materials interoperability, and communications
Our track record for innovation is • Biosciences
• Use the UK’s electronics and photonics
already among the best in the world. • Electronics, photonics
expertise in system level design and
Many of our technologies are world- and electrical systems
embedded systems to exploit end-use
beating, and can be used to inspire • Nanotechnology
new waves of innovation to carry the • High value manufacturing
economy and society forward in the • Information and communication • Invest in the development and
twenty-first century. We are building on technology (ICT). exploitation of component technologies
strong foundations. and end-to-end ICT systems that
We will be clearer about the long-term
are rapidly configurable, informed,
It is vital that the UK maintains core timing of these investments.
intelligent, dependable and user-centric
expertise in leading edge technologies
We will invest with partners to promote
to underpin UK business growth. It is • Promote a high value approach to
the rapid commercialisation of
no less vital to maintain a pipeline of manufacturing by investing in product
emerging technologies and industries
new advances to keep UK businesses and process technology and by
at the leading edge. The venture capital encouraging service innovation and
What this means for business
industry has contributed significantly business model innovation to increase
in this regard, as has our financial Input from a range of partners has helped UK manufacturing competitiveness
system generally. us to identify a number of priorities across
• Invest in modelling and engineering of
the key technology areas. In taking forward
The Technology Strategy Board complex systems across sectors
these priorities we will:
will seek to build on this, investing
• Invest in the development and exploitation
in areas where the UK is strong, to • Develop, publish and implement
of second and third generation bio-fuels.
provide capability, taking account of strategies, and technology roadmaps
the recommendations of business that justify and prioritise our
Emerging technologies and industries
groups such as the Confederation of interventions, and run collaborative R&D
British Industry and bodies such as the competitions focused on these priorities The Technology Strategy Board will seek
Council for Science and Technology. out emerging technologies that offer
• Invest in materials technologies,
We will identify emerging technologies significant potential to disrupt existing
particularly in areas which address
that could have a major disruptive markets and enable new business
the challenges of energy and the
impact or the potential to create opportunities. Those that connect across
environment, promote a ‘reduce, re-use
new industries. different disciplines create particularly
and recycle’ focus on sustainability, or
have healthcare applications
We will work with businesses and
• Review the network of Micro and
We will invest approximately 25 percent government partners on an integrated
Nanotechnology Centres to identify
of our budget in core technologies that strategy to promote the rapid
areas of real strength and determine
are critical to the UK’s success. commercialisation of emerging technologies
how best to further exploit these to the
and industries. This will embrace the national
benefit of UK business
Emerging Industries Working Group which
we will establish and lead.
Technology-inspired innovation | 09
The innovation climate
Innovation is something that people Commitments Knowledge exchange
choose to do. To accelerate innovation
We will continue to invest in When people with different perspectives
in the UK, it is essential to build
networks and knowledge exchange. share what they know, it enriches
confidence and raise aspirations. We
Our investment in this area will be them, sparks new ideas and delivers
need a culture that enables, celebrates
approximately 25 percent of our surprising benefits. We want to inspire
and ultimately rewards talent and
overall budget. and enable people to play their part in
innovation – and that retains and
the innovation economy.
attracts talented people. The market for • Working with our partners, we will
talent is global. We have to compete in double the number of Knowledge We will:
that market. Transfer Partnerships and introduce
• Complete the process of doubling
more flexible and short-term
A vital part of the role of the Technology numbers of Knowledge Transfer
partnerships, increasing our annual
Strategy Board is therefore to catalyse Partnerships by Spring 2011, including
investment to £35 million
and connect with our partners, fostering an increase in those involving further
between us a national confidence in the • We will invest in networking education providers
power of innovation. Through our work activities both in the UK and
• Roll out flexible ‘mini-KTPs’ in conjunction
and by working with other organisations internationally, primarily
with the regional development agencies,
such as the National Endowment for Knowledge Transfer Networks
devolved administrations and the
Science, Technology and the Arts
• To build an innovation culture, we research councils
(NESTA) and the Design Council, we
will invest in research to inform our
want to excite people about technology • Engage a wider range of co-funders,
thinking and to help businesses to
and innovation and provide insight and including research charities
understand the latest developments
expertise to the wider community.
• Pilot other ways to increase the scope
• We will undertake a programme to
of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships,
understand the factors which make
including international partnerships
an innovative culture and where our
interventions can make a difference • Investigate other people-related
knowledge exchange mechanisms
• We will develop a programme
such as mentors, business-to-business
of public engagement activities
including communicating and
celebrating innovation success
stories • Work with research councils and
knowledge transfer groups to enhance
• We will champion entrepreneurial
the openness of research to business.
10 | The innovation climate
A strategy for business innovation | 2008-2011
Hareesh Kallambella, working at Jones Stroud Insulations in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the
University of Central Lancashire, to optimise manufacturing processes and introduce new product
Networks are a central component of an Clusters of innovative activities in cities
effective innovation culture. Knowledge or regions can be highly productive.
Transfer Networks fulfil a variety of Proximity between businesses, and with
vital functions and set the tone. They universities or other institutions, can
connect broader business and academic generate mutually reinforcing relationships
communities, with the overall objective of – whether supplier, customer, competitor,
accelerating technology transfer into collaborator or all at once.
Clusters also create local labour markets
They drive the flow of people, knowledge for highly skilled people. Businesses
and experience between business and involved gain brand value and
the knowledge base, between businesses enhance their reputations as innovative
and across sectors, between supply organisations.
and demand sides of markets, and
We welcome the attention paid to
between experienced and inexperienced
cluster development by our partners
in the regional development agencies
They also provide an expert forum for and the devolved administrations. We
a coherent business voice in particular will engage with regional development
technology areas, acting as the eyes and agencies, devolved administrations,
ears of the Technology Strategy Board universities and other partners to invest
and advising on technology needs or on in existing and emerging clusters, where
issues which enhance or inhibit innovation research and business technology
in the UK. strengths are concentrated.
• Review our investment in networks,
including Knowledge Transfer Networks,
to ensure they support our strategic
• Increase the international outlook of the
Knowledge Transfer Networks
• Work at joining up effective local,
regional and national networks, as well
as linking to international networks
• Work at a regional level with clusters,
science parks and science cities.
The innovation climate | 11
A strategy for business innovation | 2008-2011
Thinking and acting globally
We want to help UK companies succeed • Work with others to enhance
globally. To do this, we and they need an international understanding of the UK’s
international outlook and an understanding innovative capacity and potential, and to
of worldwide trends and technical promote the UK as a global innovation
developments, international partnerships centre of excellence - with internationally-
and value chains. focused partners such as UK Trade
and Investment, RCUK International,
In the international arena, we will:
the British Council, and British
• Strengthen support to generate greater embassies including the Science
Photo by Paul Heyes
UK business involvement in the EU and Innovation Network
Framework Programme and other
• Benchmark the performance of the
European Union activities such as
UK against other countries and also
EUREKA, Eurostars, Joint Technology
benchmark the Technology Strategy
Sue Riddlestone, Managing Director of BioRegional Initiatives and ERA-NETs, where there is
MiniMills (UK) Ltd, demonstrates paper made from Board against other similar organisations
benefit for UK business
straw. This collaborative research and development globally, to assess performance and
project is developing small scale technology for • Look at new ways of internationalising to share best practice
treating black liquor, the effluent produced during
paper making. With applications in many countries UK innovation, for example, collaborative
• In the near term, concentrate particularly
around the world, this will enable agricultural residues projects involving businesses,
such as straw to be made into paper locally, putting on interactions with the European Union,
governments and researchers from
waste to good use and relieving pressure on the the US and other established and
world’s forests. more than one country
emerging economies which we identify
• Foster collaboration and support the as areas of focus.
Knowledge Transfer Networks to link
with international networks giving UK
business knowledge of leading edge
• Working with our partners, enhance
UK influence in European innovation
programmes to encourage their funding
priorities to reflect UK strengths
12 | Thinking and acting globally
The landscape is complex;
there are many paths to innovation.
Business requires greater clarity and
a more connected approach
The technology and innovation landscape Businesses need coherent support from
in the UK is fragmented. According to Lord government. To this end, we will create
Sainsbury’s 2007 report, The Race to the a UK innovation map to help them to
Top, “industry is faced with a bewildering access the most relevant support quickly.
array of organisations and schemes, many It will also act as a catalyst to encourage
of which cover the same ground.” innovative thinking.
The government’s Business Support The UK innovation map will help business
Simplification Programme is already access the right support at the right time
beginning to address this complexity. and provide a continuum to move ideas
From our perspective, a joined-up much more quickly from early concept
approach to innovation is vital for the UK’s to the market. As part of the innovation
future competitiveness. map, the Technology Strategy Board will
work with other organisations providing
technology and innovation support,
to bring together the different types of
support available. A longer-term aim will
be to ensure greater consistency in rules
and application processes.
The Technology Strategy Board is helping businesses
like the Morgan Motor Company to use different
elements of innovation support to meet their needs.
Matthew Humphries is one of several graduates
working to enable rapid development of new vehicle
designs, in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with
Birmingham City University. He helped to develop the
Morgan LifeCar, a fuel cell hybrid sports car through a
collaborative research and development project led by
Morgan with Technology Strategy Board investment.
The partnership won a Lord Stafford Award in 2007,
Matthew was recognised as a ‘business leader of
tomorrow’ at the 2008 KTP awards, and the car made
its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2008.
Connecting innovation | 13
We work in all sectors of business,
and with organisations ranging from
the largest to the smallest which are
distinguished by a commitment to
innovation and growth
How we will make investments
We work in all sectors of business, and Knowledge Transfer Networks The scheme has been operating for
with organisations ranging from the largest over 30 years and during that time has
Knowledge Transfer Networks are national
to the smallest which are distinguished by remained largely unchanged. We believe
networks which aim to improve the UK’s
a commitment to innovation and growth. that to meet a greater range of needs
innovation performance by increasing
it has to evolve. For example we will
We will use a variety of mechanisms to the breadth and depth of knowledge
introduce shorter placements and look
help business. This will allow us to tailor exchange between companies and
at the potential of other models such as
our service to their needs. between business and academia.
one or more associates working with
There are 24, including a new network for
We will: several businesses in a specific area. We
creative industries due to be launched
will also look at the possibility of placing
• Provide more coherent support in 2008.
people from business in a research
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships institution, increasing partnerships in the
• Give the most relevant support using further education sector and establishing
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, led
a menu of investment mechanisms international partnerships.
by the Technology Strategy Board with
• Increase flexibility with different seventeen other public bodies, enable
combinations of products firms to take advantage of the wealth of
scientific, engineering management and A sandpit is a week-long workshop which
• Refine and enhance the investment
technological expertise available in the brings together a range of organisations
mechanisms we use
‘knowledge base’. In a Partnership, a and experts to develop and articulate
• Balance our portfolio with some recently qualified person (an ‘Associate’) problems where the solution seems initially
high-risk, high-return investments joins a company working with staff complex or ill-defined. Sandpits are based
to embed the knowledge the company on a model used by the research councils.
• Connect with partners to provide a range
of support from initial concept through to
Feasibility studies are a way for companies
The rest of this section outlines the
to carry out exploratory studies which
mechanisms by which we can invest in
could lead to the development of new
products, processes, models, experiences
or services. The study could involve
for instance investigating the technical
feasibility of a new idea.
14 | How we will make investments
A strategy for business innovation | 2008-2011
A consortium led by Stratophase and co-funded Geomerics Ltd is leading a consortium in a
by the Technology Strategy Board is developing Collaborative Research and Development project to
bio-chemical sensor chips; disposable, highly- bring about a step change in the quality of graphics
sensitive microchips which enable detection of for computer games. The new technology, called
harmful biological pathogens such as anthrax or Enlighten, can create realistic illumination effects in real
E.Coli. Applications of the technology include both time, in dynamic lighting environments within a game.
medical diagnosis and security, for example to
detect biological attack.The picture shows part of the
production process, using an ultra-precise laser to
‘write’ an optical circuit onto a blank chip.
Exploratory awards Large projects and demonstrators Standards, regulation
Small, early investments can stimulate We plan to continue investment in large
innovation. For many businesses, this validation projects and demonstrators Standards, regulation and measurement
initial funding is the difference between an seeking public funding greater than £5 are important drivers for innovation.
idea taking off or going nowhere. We plan million. These projects must address
Standardisation and metrology facilitate
to provide funding for exploratory awards our strategic priorities and promise a
the pull through of products, services and
to stimulate activity such as the formation significant impact.
processes into the market. Standards – as
of initial relationships between SMEs and
with the Code for Sustainable Homes – can
universities. Initially, we will work with the Centres
also be used to set longer term targets.
Knowledge Transfer Networks to deliver
A network of 23 micro and
this type of investment. Regulation can be seen as an innovation
nanotechnology centres around the
inhibitor, but used effectively it can in
UK was established by government to
Proof of concept fact act as a driver and a source of new
create a recognised and sustainable
business opportunities. We can encourage
Early-stage and near-market proof of infrastructure of centres of strength in this
regulators to think more about innovation
concept projects are part of the support area, for the benefit of UK business. We
and help businesses to take advantage of
needed to make an idea investor-ready will review these centres to identify areas
opportunities arising from new regulations.
and are often important for raising venture of greatest value and determine how best
capital. As part of our toolkit, we will work to exploit them for business benefit. Across all our activities, we will work with
with DIUS and the RDAs in establishing a a range of organisations to look at how
Innovation and knowledge centres
more co-ordinated approach to the proof standards, regulation and metrology
are centres of excellence designed
of concept support available. can stimulate innovation and provide
to accelerate and promote business
competitive advantage to UK business.
exploitation of an emerging research
and technology field. They offer a We will:
shared space and entrepreneurial
• Work with the BSI British Standards to
The Collaborative Research and environment in which researchers,
pilot standards activity in areas where we
Development mechanism supports potential customers and professionals
can provide the UK with a competitive
innovative proposals in which the business from academia and business can work
and research communities work together side-by-side to scope applications,
on projects to deliver new products and business models and routes to market. • Work with the National Measurement
services. Projects must involve two or We are investing in two such centres, System including institutes such as the
more collaborators, at least one of which in association with the Engineering and National Physical Laboratory to ensure
is from a business. The level of grant Physical Sciences Research Council UK business is taking best advantage of
support varies between 25 percent for and the Biotechnology and Biological the effective use of measurement
projects nearer to market and 75 percent Sciences Research Council, and will
• Examine the potential innovation
for those more concerned with looking at consider further opportunities.
opportunities arising from the
the commercial potential of ideas coming
implementation of EU regulations.
from the knowledge base.
How we will make investments | 15
Any UK company can be
our customer irrespective of size,
maturity, sector or national ownership
Our customers and partners
We occupy the space between business, UK business currently invests far more Working with the knowledge base
government and the research community. in research and development than we
Universities, further education providers,
Our main focus and the main reason for have at our disposal. In 2007 alone, the
research and technology organisations,
our existence is to support UK business total was more than £16 billion. We will
and other research providers are an
in the area of innovation enabled by work with business in areas that we both
integral part of many of our activities to
technology. This is our purpose. We see consider important and jointly leverage
foster innovation. Bringing them together
businesses as our customers. our investment and skills to maximise
with business in collaboration stimulates
We want to provide leadership in new ideas and generates an exchange
technology and innovation, both in the We will: of knowledge which can help drive future
UK and internationally. Through our own business and economic growth. The UK
• Provide business with a clear view
staff, the expertise that resides in our has a world-leading knowledge base in
of the support that is available from
Knowledge Transfer Networks and by many areas and we need to ensure we
us, from others in the UK and
bringing together experts from many capitalise and build on that expertise.
internationally, and work to ensure
disciplines and business sectors, we
that it is a coherent offering
will lead the debate and address key Working with government
questions of relevance to UK business • Be relentless in simplifying the support
We will only be able to achieve our
and government. we provide and ensure that it is efficient,
objectives by working in partnership with
effective and meets the needs of
government bodies. We work closely
Working with business individual businesses
with three distinct groups of government
The Technology Strategy Board has an • Bring people together to generate new partners – government departments and
enabling role in supporting UK business, ideas, transfer knowledge and create their agencies, devolved administrations
as a champion, influencer and investor. new relationships and regional development agencies, and
Our primary focus is providing UK based the research councils. We view these
• Work with the UK Intellectual Property
business, irrespective of size, maturity, organisations as our partners.
Office to provide advice to businesses,
sector or ‘national’ ownership, with the
helping them to capitalise on the We will work together, leveraging our skills
technology and innovation insights and
benefits of innovation and jointly supporting activities, and we
support required to make a difference. We
will use our leadership role for working
support business by: • Help businesses to see new
across government and co-ordinating
opportunities with a longer-term
• Providing guidance, expert knowledge technology and innovation activity.
view of technology and innovation.
Working also with other potential providers
• Providing funding to invest jointly in
of funding such as venture capitalists
research and innovation
and business angels, we will build on the
• Working with business to overcome strengths of UK business and provide
barriers to innovation. the opportunities for business to be
at the forefront of technology and
16 | Our customers and partners
A strategy for business innovation | 2008-2011
The Assisted Living Innovation Platform, launched in November 2007, brings together The Department of Health,
the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council. It will
develop innovative technology-enabled products and services to meet the increasing demand for independent
living from the growing numbers of elderly people, who may suffer from chronic conditions.
Government departments Devolved administrations and Research councils
regional development agencies
We will work closely with departments right The research councils are the main
across government, particularly in the area The Technology Strategy Board has public investors in fundamental research
of societal challenges. a UK-wide role and will work with the in the UK. We will work with them to
devolved administrations of Scotland, understand the capabilities and outputs
This means understanding governmental
Wales and Northern Ireland and the of the UK universities and to support
policies and how we can work with them
English regional development agencies areas of research that show commercial
to good effect. It means helping to ensure
to understand how their strategies and promise. We will do this by strengthening
that public procurement acts as a stimulus
activities align with our national strategy, business engagement with the research
to innovation and that longer-term goals
and to support activities which address base, by maximising the potential for
are set which provide business with the
national and regional priorities. commercialising basic research and
confidence to invest. It involves working
accelerating the process of doing so.
closely with the chief scientific advisors. We will:
It means using standards, measurement The broader remit of the Technology
• Identify and follow through on priority
and regulations to stimulate innovation and Strategy Board will make it easier to
areas where the Technology Strategy
working with bodies such as the BSI British work with those research councils where
Board and the devolved administrations
Standards, National Physical Laboratory perhaps there has not been any significant
and regional development agencies will
and the UK Intellectual Property Office to previous activity.
make this effective.
We will work with research councils on
• Use the recently established Strategic
Finally, it means advising government areas we both consider a priority. Over the
Advisory Group to provide advice on
where there are barriers to UK business next three years, the research councils will
how regional support should be aligned.
innovation and feeding back what we learn commit at least £120 million in support of
to improve future thinking. Lord Sainsbury’s review ‘The Race to Technology Strategy Board activities.
the Top’ recommended that the regional
We will also work with the research
development agencies should invest
councils on their strategic cross-council
£180 million over the next three years in
research programmes, enhancing links
activities aligned with the Technology
between areas and links with other
Strategy Board. We will aim to exceed this
partners such as regional development
figure, focusing on shared priorities.
agencies and devolved administrations.
These programmes include energy,
living with environmental change, global
security, ageing, nanoscience and the
Our customers and partners | 17