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RSE responds to the Dowling Review

Posted 17/03/2015

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) in its response to the Dowling Review on research collaboration between universities and business has made a number of key recommendations:

  • New and better arrangements need to be established about the sharing and exploitation of intellectual property (IP)
  • There needs to be a step change in the support for programmes that support the commercialisation of research
  • Future rounds of the Research Excellence Framework should ensure that full recognition is given to all relevant commercialisation activity in universities
  • Both the public and private sector need to increase their R & D activity to seek to close the gap in research investment between the UK and our major international competitors
  • The UK Government needs to move beyond the “flat cash” funding of research of recent years
  • Business involvement must be fully embedded in the Technology Innovation or “Catapult” Centres

Ian Ritchie FREng FRSE, Vice President of the RSE for Business, commented, “Scotland and the UK have a proud record of innovation and of internationally recognised research in our universities. However we still do not maximise the potential of this to stimulate enhanced economic activity. Many of our international competitors, such as the USA are far more effective at the commercialisation of research. We also lag behind countries such as Germany, the USA and South Korea in our investment in R & D from both public and private sources.”

“Given this, the Dowling Review is well timed and we at the RSE hope that the Review will produce strong recommendations that enable the UK to enhance both its investment in research and its record of commercialisation.”

“The RSE has itself been actively supporting the commercialisation of research through our Enterprise Fellowship programmes, which we have run in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. These programmes are highly successful. However with more support from both the Scottish and UK Governments they could be expanded and have even greater impact.”

“Also, we need to build a new relationship between universities and businesses on how they deal with IP, as too often the relationship gets bound up in an over legalistic and defensive approach.”

“There are good examples of how the relationship can work well, such as the University of Strathclyde Technology Innovation Centre, or the University of Edinburgh Informatics Ventures, where there are strong and meaningful partnerships between the universities, leading businesses and public agencies. We would wish to see such good practice spread more widely.”


Notes to Editors

A full copy of the RSE submission is available from here.

The Dowling Review has been established under Dame Ann Dowling FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, at the request of the Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, Rt. Hon. Greg Clark MP, on the development of long term research collaboration between UK university researchers and business.

For further information please contact:

Jordan Ogg, Head of Media, 0131 240 2792,

Or Bristow Muldoon, Head of Policy Advice, 0131 240 2787

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