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The Future of University Research Professor Adrian Smith Director General of Science and Research Higher Education Policy Institute Conference 14 th October 2009
The Research Base in BIS …. works with delivery partners • Research Councils & HEFCE • National Academies • HEIs …. within the Government’s 3 year funding settlement • BIS sets overall strategy • But arm’s length from scientific judgements (the Haldane principle) …. to sustain a world-class research base which demonstrates impact and relevance
Strength of UK Research Base Second in the G 8 for excellence “International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base” Evidence Ltd, 2009 The most productive country for research in the G 8 “International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base” Evidence Ltd, 2009 Ahead of both the USA and Canada in assessing economic impact Metrics for the Evaluation of Knowledge Transfer Activities at Universities, Library House 2008
A time of change • • A decade of growth Economic downturn Holding the line Must demonstrate the value of research GDP growth
UK Policy drivers 10 Year Science and Innovation Investment Framework (2004 -14) • sustain strong research base • grow higher-level skills • stimulate university / business interaction together with a Research Assessment Framework • university funding linked directly to research excellence Next stage: • funding linked to excellence and impact • stimulation of university / business staff mobility
The Impacts of Research Improving the performance of existing businesses Delivering highly skilled people to the labour market Economic Impact Improving public policy and public services Creating new businesses Attracting R&D investment from global business
The Value of Highly Skilled People A review of postgraduate provision in the UK will: • assess the competitiveness of UK institutions in the global market for postgraduate education • assess the benefits of postgraduate study for all relevant stakeholders • assess the evidence about the needs of business and other employers for postgraduates • examine levels of participation, in terms of who undertakes postgraduate study, and whethere are barriers affecting the diversity of participation and any associated reduction in the availability of highquality entrants www. bis. gov. uk/pgreview
The Value of Highly Skilled People Supported by external advisers from the university and business worlds: • Professor Keith Burnett, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield • Dr David Docherty, Chief Executive of the Council for Industry and Higher Education • Professor Wendy Purcell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Plymouth • Dr Tim Bradshaw, Head of Science, Technology and Innovation, CBI • Professor Sarah Worthington, Pro Director for Research and External Relations, London School of Economics www. bis. gov. uk/pgreview
Attracting R&D investment from global businesses During 2008 -09, over 200 R&D projects were attracted to the UK Source: UK Trade and Investment Annual Report 08 -09
Creating new businesses Since 2003 UK universities have floated and sold companies worth almost £ 3. 5 billion Software company attracts $30 million investment before being sold to IBM in December 2008. Floated on AIM in February 2009, with an IPO value of £ 40 million.
Improving the performance of existing businesses UTCs Research centres Electrical Power Systems Strathclyde Control & Systems Engineering Sheffield Manufacturing Technology Nottingham Solid Mechanics Oxford Electrical Systems for Extreme Environments Manchester University Gas Turbine Partnership (UGTP) Cambridge Gas Turbine Transmission Systems Nottingham Advanced Electrical Machines and Drives Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Sheffield AMRC Performance Cranfield Combustion Aerodynamics Loughborough Materials Partnership Cambridge, Birmingham & Swansea Heat Transfer and Aerodynamics Oxford (Osney lab) Composites Bristol Computational Engineering Southampton Vibration Imperial College Noise Southampton Aero-Thermal Systems Sussex Thermo-Fluid Systems Surrey Sept 2009 Rolls-Royce proprietary information
Improving national policy and public services NERC informs decisions to raise or lower the Thames Barrier. The cost of getting this wrong would be £ 30 billion, not counting the cost of human lives.
How do we ensure that research delivers benefits to the UK? • HEIF (Higher Education Innovation Fund) - rising to £ 150 million per annum • HEFCE - QR for research engaged with business £ 62 million per annum • TSB – interface with business, £ 300 m funding matched with £ 120 m from RCs & £ 180 m from RDAs • RCUK Cross Council Programmes value £ 1. 4 bn Do we have the right balance?
Providing solutions to global challenges RCUK Cross Council Programmes • Planned expenditure over CSR: £ 1. 4 bn • Major response to strategic challenges for the nation – and the world • Not managed programmes – but a way of focusing efforts • Coordinated impact greater than sum of the parts Living With Environmental Change Global Uncertainties Ageing Nanoscience Digital Economy Energy
Research Excellence Framework • The primary focus of the REF will be to identify excellent research of all kinds • Government has indicated that HEFCE also should take account of the following priorities: – take better account of the impact research makes on the economy and society – continue to incentivise research excellence – reflect the quality of researchers’ contribution to public policy making and to public engagement, and – not create disincentives to researchers moving between academia and the private sector • HEFCE Consultation will run until 16 December 2009
Significant culture change Knowledge Transfer staff as a proportion of full time staff in UK HEIs
International collaboration • The big issues are global • International collaboration between the best research groups in the UK and the best worldwide is essential to produce the best research • the impact of research papers measured by citations for international collaboration with the US, France and Germany is around 50% higher than for the domestic average (International comparative performance of the UK research base, 2008)
What BIS will do Influencing – winning support from other Government Departments – persuading the Treasury and that investment in university research delivers results Methodology – developing robust methodologies for assessing economic impact – making international comparisons to benchmark existing Research Council and university practices. Capability – building stronger professional capability in Research Councils, universities and public laboratories to drive up the economic impact of research, assess it robustly and describe it attractively.
Challenges Culture: winning support from academe and business for new ways of working together Careers: providing opportunities for the new generation of researchers to move freely between universities and business Collaboration: supporting the development of longer-term, strategic collaborations between the research base and business Communication: recognising and describing the impact of research on the economy and society Critical Mass: understanding the need for critical mass to tackle major interdisciplinary research challenges and compete internationally