PraxisUnico comments on the government's Bridging the Valley of Death report

We welcome the request that Technology Strategy Board (TSB) examines the area relating to proof of concept funding.  PraxisUnico has worked on this topic previously with TSB and would be delighted to do so again.  PraxisUnico believes that the University Challenge Fund provided a major stimulus for proof of concept funding which would benefit from repeating.

PraxisUnico particularly welcomes the focus on the private sector and the recommendation is worthy of repetition, \"the government's objective should be to create a commercial demand for university engagement to which they are already primed to respond.  This echoes and reinforces the point made almost 10 years ago in the Lambert Review\".  We also welcome the recognition that whilst universities \"are an important facet of the UK innovation ecosystem but a resource to be drawn on rather than a primary driver of commercialisation.\"  However, PraxisUnico might go further to emphasise that universities have a particular role to play in championing truly disruptive technologies where there may be little or no current industrial community. 

The importance of technology transfer skills and the work of PraxisUnico are emphasised in the report.  We at PraxisUnico believe that these skills are absolutely critical for the UK and would be delighted to play a role in delivering those skills more broadly.

The emphasis on procurement and the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) in the report is also well placed and we welcome the idea of some Treasury responsibility in this regard.  In order to have an innovative public procurement structure in the UK we need to distinguish between procurement of widgets and the procurement of solutions to problems or opportunities.  Too often in public procurement the focus is on the former and not the latter.  The success of Small Business Innovation Research programme (SBIR) in the USA is, in our view, in part due to the procurement of solutions which emphasises innovation in the supply chain and in government procurement. Working together to enhance partnership, business pull and procurement will strengthen innovation and growth.

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About PraxisUnico

PraxisUnico is the UK’s leading research commercialisation association and a not-for-profit educational organisation set up to support innovation and commercialisation of public sector and charity research for social and economic impact.  PraxisUnico encourages innovation and acts as a voice for the research commercialisation profession, facilitating the interaction between the public sector research base, business and government.  PraxisUnico provides a forum for best practice exchange, underpinned by first-class training and development programmes.