Review of UK innovation performance

Two major reviews to improve innovation throughout the UK economy have been announced by the Government

. Chancellor Gordon Brown and Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt have commissioned a wide-ranging review examining the contribution that improving the UK's innovation performance will make to closing the productivity gap. The review will set out a strategy for improving innovation performance in the UK and will: Assess the UK's relative innovation performance; Identify strengths and weaknesses and where market or institutional problems inhibit innovation in UK firms; Identify and prioritise how Government policies can address those problems; and, set out a clear outcomes-based strategy, involving all the key stakeholders, to improve our relative innovation performance compared to other countries. To complement this, Gordon Brown and Patricia Hewitt have asked the former editor of the Financial Times, Richard Lambert, to lead an independent review of how we can boost the UK economy by strengthening the long-term links between business and universities. Lambert's work will feed into the 'Innovation Review' and will look at how we can build on the R&D tax credits, the successful University Challenge and Higher Education Innovation Funds. Ms Hewitt said: "Boosting innovation in the UK economy is a key factor in our efforts to drive up UK productivity. We want to look more closely at how markets drive innovation through the application of knowledge, know-how and skills to new products, services and processes, and through new ways of doing business. "The best businesses know already that innovation is key to their business success. This review will also consider what mechanisms we can use to spread innovative business practice from the best to the rest." Richard Lambert, supported by a cross-departmental team, will lead the business-university collaboration review. This will build on the Higher Education Strategy to be launched by the Department for Education and Skills in January 2003, and will feed into the work of the innovation review, led by Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury, which will report by summer 2003. MF