The government’s plans to encourage closer links between universities and industry, which were unveiled earlier this week, have met with a sceptical response from lobby groups.
The science and innovation white paper, launched by trade and industry secretary Stephen Byers, includes a £140m fund to help small companies exploit research and allow scientists in the public sector to financially benefit from spin-off companies.
But Dr Peter Cotgreave, director of pressure group Save British Science, said the proposals would not solve a chronic funding shortage that was holding back technology transfer from universities to industry. `The onus is on the universities to deliver.’ he said. Meanwhile the Royal Academy of Engineering said the white paper failed to address the importance of engineering in commercialising scientific innovation
Other measures in the white paper include a small business research initiative to encourage innovative small firms to access R&D funding, and a £15m fund to teach business skills.
A new £4m fund to recruit researchers and stem the so-called `brain drain’ to the US was welcomed by the chairman of the Confederation of British Industry’s technology committee, John Robinson. But he said there was still have a long way to go before excellence in training and the transfer of technology were rewarded fairly.
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