If the UK is to continue to afford to support a broad and vibrant research base, we must get better at commercialising and exploiting the fruits of that investment, the Academy’s CEO Philip Greenish told a meeting of the science and engineering community.

Addressing a meeting held at the Royal Society to consider research and innovation through the downturn, he outlined prerequisites for the successful conversion of research into valuable products and services. He pointed out how Government needs to provide a clear, well-communicated policy and regulatory framework that promotes confidence for business to invest and opportunity to create a market.

“Government also needs to improve its understanding of what business and industry need to create innovation using our strong research base,” he said, calling for a deeper analysis by Government departments of the barriers and perceptions of barriers that could deter investment.

He highlighted a key role for universities to create better understanding of how to design, deliver and support research in ways that enable innovation. “That needs them to become ever better at connecting with business and industry,” he said.

The engineering community had long held concerns that Government policy needs to be better informed by the engineering dimension of delivery. “This is not about wanting to be heard and understood for its own sake; this is about how you incentivise business to pull through technologies into productive use,” he pointed out.

It is also about ensuring that public policy is deliverable. “Too often, Government fails to understand that engineering reality or “do-ability” is a key strategic element dimension of policy delivery. That was a main theme of the recent IUSS Select Committee report on Engineering. The report underlined the benefits of Government engaging with engineering expertise – in technology and business – and the penalties of not doing so. Government needs to engage with engineering, business and industry advice at the outset of the policymaking process.”

He pointed out how, over the last year, the Academy has been working with engineering organisations to provide a well-signposted open front door into expert engineering advice for Government departments, the CSA community and policymakers across the parties of potential Government.

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Iffat Memon at The Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. Direct tel +44 (0) 20 7766 0653