Impact on policy making Imperial College

We contribute to policy-making through regular engagement with senior political leaders and civil servants. In the UK we advise the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) (formerly the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)) as well as HM Treasury. We also engage internationally with governments and other organisations including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and  Development (OECD) and EU Commission.

We hosted Vince Cable and the launch of the government’s industry and growth strategy, whilst Dr Keith Smith supported the development of the Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth as part of his ongoing secondment to BIS as Head of Innovation Analysis. Dr Smith also co-authored the accompanying Economics Paper, extensively citing UK~IRC and Innovation & Entrepreneurship research, as well as the UK~IRC Innovation Policy Seminar held for members of BIS.

The UK~IRC were taskforce partners with the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) and undertook research on the value of innovation to the UK economy. Professor Alan Hughes continues to collaborate with the CIHE’s new incarnation, the National Council for Universities and Business (NCUB). Several reports are available on the UK~IRC website.

Innovation Summits

The UK~IRC hosted annual Innovation Summits - one-day conferences on key issues affecting the innovation community. These events also facilitated engagement and knowledge exchange between the policy, academic and practitioner communities.

  • 2013 Summit: The Future of Science and Innovation Policy – considered how research, policy and business practice influence science and innovation policy and what steps should be taken to strengthen those links
  • 2012 Summit: Creative Industries and Vibrant Places – considering how culture and the arts influence economic performance and quality of life. Co-sponsors are the BBC and University of Manchester
  • 2011 Summit: Growing Through Innovation – united leading firms including Arup, Microsoft, Xerox, IBM, GSK and Pfizer, sharing their experience of using innovation to encourage profitability
  • 2010 Summit: Re-thinking the Impact of Innovation – drew on international public and private sector experience of best practice to assess the impact of innovation
  • 2009 Summit: The Drivers of Successful Innovation and the Appropriation of Value – facilitated discussion on the economic value of technological innovation

Policy reports

Our work has contributed to or resulted in a number of reports that make specific recommendations for UK and international policy. These reports include:

Former Design Council Chairman George Cox's Review of Creativity in UK Business argues businesses can stay ahead of their global rivals by drawing on the country's world-leading design capabilities. Supported by the government, this led to the creation of centres of excellence including Innovation & Entrepreneurship spin-off centre, Design London. The report also set out to broaden the creative skills and insight of tomorrow's business leaders, engineers and technologists, and use the massive spending power of public procurement to generate more innovation from businesses.

This review of British innovation for the Conservative Party was launched in March 2010, by leading inventor Sir James Dyson. To develop a growing economy, the report calls for a culture change that esteems science and innovation practice, encourages young people into science subjects, as well as encouraging collaboration between universities, business and not-for-profit organisations. The report cited research developed by the Department.

The Republic of Engagement, co-authored by Ammon Salter, drew on a unique survey of academics funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and explores how academics engaged with industry in the UK from 2004-2009. The report argues that academic-industry engagement is relatively common and increasing, but differences in orientation and outcome are still perceived as a barrier to effective knowledge transfer.

The report was subsequently cited by Research Councils UK (RCUK) in a report that ultimately led to the protection of the science and research budget in the last spending review.

Our researchers have produced several reports on the EU region helping the EU Commission to determine future innovation and entrepreneurship policy.

  • Ammon Salter's role on the High-Level Panel for the Measurement of Innovation established by the EU Commissioner led to two recommendation reports which have since been accepted by the Commission as determining their future approach to the Innovation 20:20 policy initiative: 'Indicators for Structural Change' and 'Indicators for Research Excellence'.
  • Erkko Autio's work on the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) identifies impediments or 'bottlenecks' to entrepreneurship in EU regions, and a report has been produced for the Economic Analysis Directorate General at the EU Commission. GEI uses data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, World Bank, World Economic Forum and Heritage Foundation to determine national entrepreneurial profiles, and is being adopted by policy bodies around the world.

In 2009 the Royal Society drew on Innovation & Entrepreneurship evidence in producing their Hidden Wealth report on the contribution of science to innovation in the services sector. The report argues that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are vital to developments in the services sector and will be key to future development. The report concludes that greater engagement and knowledge transfer is necessary between the STEM academic community and the services sector to ensure future profitability.