UKRI seeks to strengthen the strategic approach to future challenges and maximise value from Government’s investment of over £6bn per year.
Following the recent announcement from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that the first chief executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will be Sir Mark Walport there is now an open call applications to join the board of UKRI.
UKRI is a new public body in place of the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK, and the research and knowledge exchange functions of the Higher Education Funding Council for England with the aim of integrating research and Innovate UK functions as well as offering an opportunity to strengthen the strategic approach to future challenges and maximise value from Government’s investment of over £6 billion per annum in research and innovation.
In it’s consultation paper outlining the case for the creation of this body BEIS set out the following delivery goals for UKRI:
- greater focus and capacity to deliver on cross-cutting issues that are outside the core remits of the current funding bodies, such as multi- and inter-disciplinary research, enabling the system to respond rapidly and effectively to current and future challenges;
- a strengthened, unified voice for the UK’s research and innovation funding system, facilitating the dialogue with Government and partners on the global stage;
- improved collaboration between the research base and the commercialisation of discoveries in the business community, ensuring that research outcomes can be fully exploited for the benefit of the UK;
- better mechanisms for the sharing of expertise and best practice for example, around management of major projects and large capital investment – driving up the effectiveness of decision-making;
- more time for research and innovation leaders to focus on strategic leadership through the centralisation of back and middle office functions and the reduction of administrative responsibilities; and
- improved quality of evidence on the UK’s research and innovation landscape through the pooling of multiple datasets and information sources, underpinning effective funding decisions
With the new research and innovation funding announced in the Autumn Statement intended to enhance the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation (including the creation of the Industrial Strategy Research Fund) it’s clear that innovation will be a growing role for UKRI and so it is vitally important that the UKRI Board members are drawn from the breadth of the activities UKRI will cover, ranging from discovery research through to the delivery of products, processes and services from business innovation.
We would encourage KTN subscribers whether they are academics with an interest in the application of their science through inventors, entrepreneurs, business innovators or investors to take a look at these positions and we note that UKRI is looking to appoint an Innovation Champion to it’s board to embed innovation throughout the organisation and act as an authoritative voice in communicating to UK research and business communities.