Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth

Steve Brine has welcomed the launch of a new strategy setting out the Government's plans to boost economic growth through smarter investment in research, innovation and commercialisation.

The Winchester & Chandler's Ford MP said: "The UK has an excellent research base, innovative small businesses and highly-skilled individuals. But the tough economic conditions and growing competition from abroad mean even the best ideas face enormous challenges.

"We must emerge stronger by doing all we can to provide the best possible environment for new ideas to thrive. We want faster growth in the high-technology companies of the future, more jobs and a stronger economy."

The strategy, announced by David Willetts, includes new investment of £75 million over three years focused on SMEs. The new initiatives include a relaunched and expanded 'Smart' scheme to help SMEs get proof of concept and proof of market for their innovative ideas; a new innovation vouchers scheme to provide SMEs with free support from colleges and universities; a new Innovation Prize Fund and a new Centre of Expertise on innovation prizes, run by the NESTA and a new commitment to free and open access for research that has been funded by taxpayers.

Mr Willetts said: "These announcements build on those the Prime Minister made last week when he launched the new Strategy for UK Life Sciences, which responds to the unprecedented changes happening in the sector.

"It is vital that we enable scientists, the NHS and business to succeed so that the UK can compete effectively in the interests of patients, job creation and the wider economy. Among the wide range of measures in the life sciences strategy are a £180 million Catalyst Fund administered jointly by the Medical Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board to tackle the 'valley of death' between discovery and commercialisation, and new Higher Level Apprenticeships covering post A-Level education to provide an alternative pathway into the industry at technician level.

"These new packages seal a good year for science and innovation. In addition to protecting the £4.6 billion ring-fenced science and research budget up to 2014/15, since January 2011 we have announced new science capital investment in a diverse range of areas in which the UK leads the world, including high-powered computing, the commercialisation of grapheme and animal health."

Steve added: "Even in tough times, this Government is absolutely committed to funding the best science, the best research and the best innovation wherever it occurs. But providing the right environment is not just about money. It is also about freeing up researchers and businesses to collaborate, transforming access to data and enabling individuals to reach their full potential.

"That is why, as a key part of our new approach, we will foster new innovation clusters and work more closely with fast developing economies like India and China. We will deliver much greater transparency and continue focusing on higher-level skills.

"As part of the Coalition's commitment to growth and rebalancing the economy, the Coalition is determined to provide the best possible environment for researchers, innovators and companies."

More information...

You can read the strategy here.