Mandelson: UK needs to 'get more D out of its R&D'

The government is backing the formation of a network of UK technology and innovation centres, modelled on Germany's Fraunhofer Institute and the Netherlands' Delft Centre
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Business secretary Peter Mandelson has announced government support for a new network of technology and innovation centres, which he hopes will help commercialise the output of UK technological research.

On Thursday, Mandelson said the network would help develop concepts from university researchers to a stage where the private sector would be able to commercialise them.

"Too often in this country we have been brilliant at research and let others walk away with the commercial benefits of development," Mandelson said in a statement. "If we are to develop new industrial capabilities in Britain, we have to get more D out of our R&D. Centres can play a vital role in bridging the gap between research and the market, strengthening our national capabilities in innovation."

Mandelson was accepting the recommendations of a report by Acorn co-founder Hermann Hauser, who noted that "the UK has a science capability second only to the US but falls short on translating scientific leads into leading positions in new industries".

"Technology and innovation centres can help solve this shortcoming and give Britain the lead in some of the most promising technologies leading to new industries with transformational economic impact," Hauser said in his report, which was commissioned by Mandelson in January.

Hauser named the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany and the Delft Centre in the Netherlands as models for the UK network, which will address areas including: stem cells and regenerative medicine; future internet technologies; plastic electronics; software and technologies addressing renewable energy and climate change; satellite communications; fuel cells; advanced manufacturing; and composite materials.

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