PraxisUnico meets with Under-Secretary of State for BIS

Phil Clare and Douglas Robertson had a meeting with Baroness Wilcox, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for BIS matters in the House of Lords.  She also has a particular responsibility for IP and the Intellectual Property Office.  Baroness Wilcox found time in her busy schedule even in the middle of the recent, marathon Lords’ debate.

Baroness Wilcox is well versed in business matters and understands the importance of intellectual property having served on major company boards. 

We outlined the important and growing role that universities have in innovation and growth in the UK.  Particularly underlining the major improvements and progress which had been made, referring to key reports (Lambert, Sainsbury, Unico) which whilst undertaken a few years ago still held some highly pertinent learning and provided evidence to underpin our assertions.  Baroness Wilcox was positive about the role of universities in supporting economic growth, whilst reiterating, as one might expect, that the government has no new money to invest in it.  The discussion underlined, the further progress that had been made in HE since the Lambert report.  However, the concerns expressed by Lambert on the demand side still remained true at the present time.

We summarised the historical development from TT to KT to KE.  We then explained how the growth of technology transfer and knowledge exchange over the past decade is beginning to bear significant fruit and that the timescales involved are long.  We expressed our support for continued government investment through HEIF, explained that the figures we produce for spinouts are rightly to be applauded, but are only the tip of a much larger iceberg.  We emphasised the need to build on what had been achieved, and that unnecessary change can be expensive.

Further discussions with officials from BIS and IPO reinforced the discussion.  If members wish to supply case studies and instances of successes, not just in technology transfer but especially in “softer” knowledge exchange projects we will pass them on to the Minister and to BIS.  The meeting ended with recognition that there was much more to discuss.

A meeting report on behalf of PraxisUnico for the membership