• Key R&D developments


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    Creating a National Commercialisation Infrastructure: closing the Gap between Rhetoric & Reality

    March 2023

    Political leaders around the globe emphasize the importance of science, technology and innovation to deliver their national growth strategies - but turning this rhetoric into reality is hampered by poor understanding of how innovations can actually be translated to deliver impact. In this paper we describe a new approach to the creation of a national Commercialisation Infrastructure.

    Subsequent papers will explore how the various policy prescriptions on offer measure up against this comprehensive framework.
    See full paper. 

    UK Government press release: PM announces major research boost

    Our Current Newsletter

    New Year 2023

    Our latest newsletter containing R&D news & views is available via this link and as usual we welcome your feedback.

    • Reflections on this month’s Newsletter from David Hughes (Newsletter editor)
    • “Surely you are joking Mr Feynman”
    • Prime Minister’s speech to CBI
    • New National Science and Technology Council (NSTC)
    • Update on UK participation in Europe R&D programmes
    • Lessons from EU for ARIA
    • And finally …we list some interesting news items without comment
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    Lessons from EU for ARIA

    December 2022

    Our criticisms of ARIA, which have been articulated before in our Newsletters, have been highlighted by the bottom-up approach being adopted by the new management team. So we have a scatter gun approach assessing proposals made by researchers (no doubt rewriting their pet projects to meet ARIA requirements). How on earth do people think this will deliver real growth in the near term, let alone a ‘strategy’?

    By contrast something veryinteresting is happening in the European Innovation Council (EIC). This was originally also planned as a bottom-up innovation fund but it appears that the new management team there have done a significant reversal and are now aiming at top-down, targeted research. So they have recently announced that the EIC will focus much more on scoping the potential for technological and innovation breakthroughs and for directing projects into a coherent plan that will support development of a competitive sector.

    An example is the Pathfinder Challenges which set objectives rather than waiting for applicants to suggest projects. The first project aims to fill gaps in EU’s cell and gene therapy sector in particular to address issues of scale-up, cost, patient access and becoming commercially successful. So, for example, their focus is reported as emphasis on manufacturing and scale-up of patient-specific therapies. UK policymakers take note please!

    Ironically, this strategic focus was the basis of setting up the UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) in 2004 but this was lost when the TSB was converted to an arms-length agency (now Innovate UK).

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    New Prime Minister, new policies, no detail strategy

    August 2022

    We remain optimistic that the opportunity for real economic growth exists in the UK but to realise that we will need a sea change in the actions of both business leaders and policy makers. One of the key areas to emerge in much of the news, is the importance of strategy. Much has been written about strategy but the great business leaders seem to focus their strategic thinking on where to play and how to win against the competition. Following the appointment of a new Prime
    Minister and Cabinet, we applaud the growth ambition but currently cannot see any credible plans to achieve that. We look forward to seeing the detail statement over the coming weeks. It is also
    worth reflecting on the view of technology futurist, Mark Andreessen, when he looks at the emerging areas for growth which he describes by the acronym ABC:

    A for artificial intelligence around for example deep learning, machine learning, GPT-3 (generative pre-trained transformer 3).

    B for biotech with genomics and now the mRNA revolution, and the revolution of bringing together the disciplines of biology and engineering.

    C for crypto and Web3, which is a revolution around distributed consensus, building trusted networks on the internet.

    There’s an incredible wave of talent in the form of top-end engineers,
    scientists, executives, and founders flooding into those three sectors. The UK needs to make best use of such global talent and focus on those areas where the UK has maximum potential to accelerate growth.

    UK Government press release: PM announces major research boost

    Strategic collaboration with Triple Chasm Company

    June 2022

    We are delighted to announce a new collaboration with the Triple Chasm Company focussing on developing a better understanding of the innovation landscape in the UK.


    The R&D Society and the Triple Chasm Company share the same goals of improving the translation of ideas into commercial, social and environmental impact. The research collaboration is focused on generating practical insights for innovative high-growth companies, enabling them to better focus their efforts.

    The R&D Society will promote Triple Chasm research and tools to its membership resulting in better data-driven decisions, leading to faster, more sustainable growth.

    Iain Simpson, Chairperson of The R&D Society said:
    "We seek to maintain UK as one of the most attractive global environments for R&D, with a particular emphasis on realising its potential to impact social and economic wealth. With this in mind we are delighted to form a strategic partnership with the Triple Chasm Company to support applying its research-based methodologies to develop a better understanding of the innovation landscape in the UK linking the micro, meso, and macro factors that ensure economic growth and sustainability."

    Dr Phadke, CEO of the Triple Chasm added:
    “We are delighted about this new collaboration which should enable more rigorous evidence-driven approaches which go beyond simple macro-economic notions of market failure, productivity gaps, and volatile investor sentiment.“