Enhancing Value Task Force

Enhancing Value Task Force


The Enhancing Value Task Force was launched in 2011 in conjunction the UK-Innovation Research Centre (UK-IRC) to answer the question:

How do we make the most of the UK's research base?

The quality of research taking place in the UK universities is self-evident, which leads to world-class innovation. But the UK cannot afford to become the world’s best contract researcher for other countries’ development. Its inventiveness must be pulled through into innovation within firms to create economic growth and jobs in this country. 

The Enhancing Value Task Force set out to meet this challenge.


Please note: Positions listed are those held during the work of Task Force and not currently.


David Eyton, Group Head of Technology, BP

Dame Shirely Pearce, former Vice Chancellor, Loughborough University

Steering Group

James Baker, Managing Director of the Advanced Technology Centre, BAE Systems

Prof. Genevieve Berger, Chief R&D Officer, Unilever

Prof. Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice Chancellor, University of Cambridge

Prof. David Delpy, RCUK CEO and Champion for Impact, EPSRC

Prof. Peter Downes, Vice Chancellor, University of Dundee

Prof. Malcolm Grant, President & Provost, University College London

Iain Gray, CEO, Technology Strategy Board

Dr. Hermann Hauser, Partner, Amadeus Capital Partners

Prof. Dame Julia King, Vice Chancellor, Aston University

Pat Loughrey, Warden, Goldsmiths

Dr. Menelas Pangalos, EVP Innovative Medicines, AstraZeneca

Prof. Ric Parker, Director of Research & Technology, Rolls-Royce

Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Chancellor, University of Cambridge

Phil Smith, Chief Executive, Cisco UK and Ireland

Dr. David Sweeney, Director of Research, Innovation & Skills HEFCE

Mark Thompson, Former Director General, BBC

Prof. Patrick Vallance, President, Pharmaceuticals R&D GSK

Sir Tim Wilson, Non-Executive Director, The Unite Group

Working Group

Working Group Co-Chair: Prof. Michael Caine Associate Dean (Enterprise), Loughborough University

Working Group Co-Chair: Dr. Robert M Sorrell, VP Public Partnerships, BP

Dr. Aileen Allsop, Consultant

Richard Biers, Programme Leader S&T Futures, DSTL

Pete Digger, Leader - UK Science Relations, AstraZeneca

Alice Frost, Head of Knowledge Exchange and Skills, HEFCE

Chris Ganje, Policy Advisor, BP

Dr. Andy Leonard, Vice President, BP Cambridge

Dr. Andrea Mina, Senior Research Fellow, CBR and UK~IRC

Dr. Declan Mulkeen, Director - Research Programmes, MRC

Prof. Douglas Paul Director of the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre University of Glasgow

Dr. Jocelyn Probert Senior Researcher CBR and UK~IRC

Dr. Allyson Reed Director of Enterprise & Communications TSB

Dr. Douglas Robertson, Director of Research and Enterprise Services, Newcastle University & Chair of PraxisUnico 

Dr. Malcolm Skingle, Director: Academic Liaison, GSK R&D

Philip Ternouth, Associate Director, CIHE

Nigel Townley, Engineering Director: Enhanced Customer Aligned Test Services, Cisco

Dr. Alison Wall, Associate Director, Impact, ESPRC

Andy Wilson, Head - Centre of Technology, BBC

Case Studies

From the Growing Value Report

Conclusions and Recommendations  

In their Final Report, Growing Value, the Task Force drew 10 conclusions and made four recommendations.


1. There is a global trend towards greater openness in research and collaboration between companies and research institutions. These dynamics are present in the UK, with some institutions being leading practitioners.

2. The openness and excellence of the UK research base is reflected in its attractiveness to overseas firms. The UK has the world’s highest percentage of R&D coming from foreign subsidiaries. But this extreme position carries risks. This investment could go elsewhere as developing countries incentivise inward investment, or the UK could increasingly be viewed as providing a higher education and research service ‘at cost’ to the world. This would profit other countries’ innovation systems with little or no follow-on benefit to the UK.

3. Research is a competitive, global activity and developing countries are capturing market share. The UK needs to compete for a greater share of supply chains, from research through to wide-scale deployment of new concepts and products, in order to support the UK’s economic prosperity and sustained investment in the higher education and research base.

4. Enhancing the impact of the UK’s higher education and research base requires a joined up or systems-based approach, which recognises the linkages from research through to deployment, and from start-up companies through to major multi-nationals, as well as the importance of infrastructure and finance in achieving growth.

5. Large international companies account for the majority of the UK’s business research and have the capacity to interface effectively with UK universities and funding organisations. These same companies choose to invest where they can find the best people, leveraging national research expenditures and infrastructure. Smaller companies account for a small fraction of R&D, and those seeking to innovate often struggle to leverage the university and funding systems, due to a lack of resources and relevant ‘bridging’ skills, both in the companies and in universities.

6. The commercialisation of research is one of many ways in which value is created and it is inherently risky. Large companies are practised at this and have the ability to manage the whole innovation pipeline and portfolio. Failures occur regularly and are to be expected. Smaller companies have fewer resources and a narrower portfolio, making failure terminal, but success also more dramatic.

7. The impact of publicly-funded research is difficult to quantify, but is consistently assessed as strongly positive where capacity exists to absorb the research into business and community activities.

8. Innovation pathways vary by sector, depending for example on the ‘clock-speed’ of specific industries, industry structure, maturity, and the significance of IP. There is no single ‘silver bullet’ solution to enhancing the value and impact of university inventiveness that would work across all sectors. Equally, many technologies have multiple applications across many sectors.

9. The absence of an industrial strategy has arguably resulted in offshoring of manufacturing, fewer opportunities for local leverage of the research base and a lack of strategic prioritisation of public research funding. Each sector has a particular set of strategic requirements and particular growth trajectories, and requires specific policy support.

10. Despite having a vibrant financial services industry in the UK, UK inventions often end up being funded by overseas businesses, and their value is not captured in the UK.


1. Maintain the excellence of the UK Research Base through long-term strategic commitments from government.

2. Prioritise and finance collaboration, and the sharing of best practice in innovation, between UK universities and businesses, local and global.

3. Promote entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial corporate management in universities in order to enhance risk-taking and innovation in business.

4. Develop consistent differentiated sector strategies to incentivise university-business interactions designed to match specific sectoral systems of innovation.

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