National Centre for Universities and Business to advise government on future of R&D

A new taskforce of academics and industry leaders will make recommendations to drive economic recovery post Covid-19

A new taskforce of leaders from UK academia and industry is to provide recommendations to government as it shapes its plan for the future of UK research and development (R&D)

The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) has been asked by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to launch the taskforce to advise on the future of UK R&D, and help drive the country’s economic recovery post Covid-19.

The announcement comes after the government published its new R&D roadmap last week.

Described as the “start of a conversation”, the roadmap outlined the government’s long-term objectives for (R&D): “to be a science superpower and invest in the science and research that will deliver economic growth and societal benefits across the UK for decades to come, and to build the foundations for the new industries of tomorrow.”

Sam Laidlaw, NCUB

The NCUB taskforce will now look at how partnerships between universities and businesses can be boosted to drive growth and prosperity.

“The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance and value of collaborative working,” said Sam Laidlaw, chair of the NCUB.

“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.

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 – Sam Laidlaw, NCUB chair

“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.

“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, said: “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.”

The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) represents a collective voice of leaders across higher education and business and aims to tackle issues of shared interest. The NCUB is an independent and not-for-profit membership organisation that promotes, develops and supports university-business collaboration across the UK. The NCUB was established in 2013.

On 26 June, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that universities struggling to cover the costs of research because of the Covid-19 pandemic will be allowed to apply for government loans this autumn.


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