New ‘collaboration taskforce’ announced to aid economic recovery

Published:  08 July, 2020

The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) has been asked to launch a new Taskforce to advise on the future of UK R&D. The Taskforce, requested by UK Research and Innovation, will consider how partnerships between universities and businesses can be strengthened and maximised to drive growth and prosperity.

Collaboration between universities and business is at the centre of the UK’s research and innovation system and will play a fundamental part in driving economic recovery and rejuvenation. The Taskforce will provide recommendations to Government as it shapes its R&D Plan.

Sam Laidlaw, chair of the National Centre for Universities & Business said: “The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance and value of collaborative working. Against an unprecedented threat no singular organisation or institution can operate in isolation. Building partnerships not only improves resilience but is a key enabler for new ideas and innovations to be developed. We welcome this exciting opportunity to provide advice and recommendations to UKRI as the country rebuilds post-Covid. The Government’s R&D roadmap published last week clearly expresses the vital role they expect research and innovation to play in driving economic growth and recovery and we welcome their invitation to learn from this important taskforce. The Government has acknowledged that university and business collaboration will play a crucial role in rebuilding an inclusive, dynamic and resilient economy. Together with the new R&D roadmap, this taskforce will help navigate the nation’s way to economic growth and prosperity.”

Laidlaw continued: “The members of this taskforce will be carefully chosen as experts and leaders from UK industry and academia and are passionate that collaboration is critical to driving recovery. Their strategic insight and commitment to UK PLC will be invaluable to UKRI and the Government. The NCUB is fully committed to working with UKRI, and we are thrilled to have this opportunity to advise and help inform the nation’s leading experts as we move through the phases of crisis and recovery.”

In the letter to NCUB, David Sweeney, executive chair of Research England, says: “I welcome and support NCUB's recent campaign to strengthen ties between universities and businesses, building on long-standing partnerships and new links formed in heat of the covid19 crisis, to work together for the country’s economic recovery… I would particularly value NCUB bringing together the expert insights from the strategic network of NCUB members, together with appropriate other leading experts to form a taskforce. The taskforce could distil some of the evidence above and provide insights to calibrate key challenges, likely timelines and opportunities to do better working together. The advice of the taskforce would be most valuable set in the context of the UK Government’s R&D roadmap, which sets a long-term and important ambition that will have very significant implications for universities, businesses and the country as a whole.”

For more information on this, read the letter from UKRI asking NCUB to form the Taskforce, and the commentary article by Alice Frost director of Knowledge Exchange at Research England.

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