PraxisAuril has responded to the UK government's R&D roadmap. The Roadmap sets out government objectives for R&D across Parliament (2024-25) alongside the previously announced £22 million budget. PrA members need to understand how these will affect KE, not least because there are intentions to create a new funding agency (based on the USA's ARPA) and shake up research funding structures more generally. There is still a major focus on commercialisation of IP as a way of stimulating economic recovery and growth but no answers as to how the well-known issues - investor risk, absorptive capacity on the business side - will be changed by any of the proposals. We are likely to hear more of the phrase 'Britain is great at research but poor at commercialisation'. This is why we need to help our members tell really good stories about the work they do - in commercialisation but in many other ways too - and put their specific roles and contributions in the spotlight. KE matters more than ever post pandemic and we have firm foundations to rise to the challenges.
Our response, which is based around our contribution to previous consultations as well input from a number of members, aims to bring the focus on to the role of KE professionals in the R&D community and landscape. The UK has an extensive network of engagement professionals represented by a number of networks with specialisms and shared concerns: NCCPE, ARMA, PraxisAuril, UKSPA, AIRTO, KTN. All should have better recognition as part of the R&D community and be represented on new R&D expert groups - proposed in the Roadmap - to contribute their perspectives alongside researchers, industry and other research users.
We welcome, of course, the increase to the HEIF allocation for the 2020-21 academic year as well as the freshly launched KE Concordat. We need to ensure now that these investments and initiatives create the KE that we need and want to see in the next decade. This will mean a fresh focus on place and people as enablers of change - primarily through enabling diversity. A large number of our members have started to create new models of KE in CCF projects, which should be more widely profiled (you can access a list via our Twitter feed), and the Strength in Places fund awards show promise. But we need to invest in the next generation of KE too, so that it's a valid career choice rather than an add-on or after thought. That means investing in movement of people, promoting KE as part of a research careers, and recognising the skills needed in 'bridging' roles as distinctive and valuable.
We have an opportunity as we 'reset and renew' to change how we think about research, development and innovation. The Roadmap will ellicit a wide range of responses from a wide range of voice. We hope that our voice will be heard among the many to create a positive and inspiring journey ahead for knowlege exchange.
You can download a copy of PraxisAuril's response from our Resources section.