Leading research commercialisation body comments on Technology Innovation Centre inquiry
Today (2 December 2010), PraxisUnico submits its response, on behalf of its members, to the inquiry by the Science and Technology Commons Select Committee on Technology Innovation Centres (TICs). This inquiry is examining the Fraunhofer model and its validity in improving commercialisation research in the UK.
The PraxisUnico submission welcomes the government’s commitment to exploring new ways of working to make knowledge transfer even more effective and its desire to invest further in strengthening effective links between academia and industry. However, the message from PraxisUnico members is that any attempt to adopt the Fraunhofer model detached from the existing university-based research is unlikely to succeed.
Dr Phil Clare, PraxisUnico Chairman commented, “PraxisUnico members believe that there are lessons to be learned from Fraunhofer, but that much of the structure is not compatible with the way UK research and innovation has evolved. It is critical that we build on the substantial success of university knowledge transfer, developed over the last ten years, to remain competitive in the global knowledge economy.”
He continues, “The creation of new institutes should be part of, not separate from, the rich landscape of knowledge transfer activities created by universities over the last decade and there are great dangers in seeking a “one size fits all” solution. There is a role for large institutes, but a collection of smaller institutes connected through a smaller university could be appropriate to meet a diversity of needs. Existing effective models such as the hub approach of Cancer Research Technology system which works very closely with its partner universities, with emphasis on partnership should be given due consideration.
In the UK, PraxisUnico members have been at the forefront of change in the world of knowledge transfer. We welcome the government’s commitment to change, but we would caution that new initiatives need to be built on existing successes, rather than carried out in isolation.”
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About the Fraunhofer model
Fraunhofer is a state-subsidised organisation comprising around 60 autonomous institutes providing applied research and technology development in Germany and around the globe.
About the Cancer Research Technology System (CRT)
CRT acts as a hub for university recipients of funding from both Cancer Research UK and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. CRT was established in 1982 and works with 30 universities across the UK. CRT has built up a major specialism in the development of cancer therapies and diagnostics and now has agreements in place with six other cancer charities and a major European research funder.
CRT works very closely with its partner universities, with emphasis on partnership. CRT has significant strengths in taking technologies into early stage clinical trial and university Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) have skills in working with the academic community to identify research with value as a potential application.
- PraxisUnico is 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.
- PraxisUnico is the UK’s leading research commercialisation association.
- Over 2500 commercialisation professionals are PraxisUnico members – representing more than 114 universities and public sector research establishments; and 50 firms of lawyers, patent agents, venture capitalists and other professionals.
- More than 97% of UK university research funding is spent in PraxisUnico member institutions.