Too much emphasis on inventions and patents as a measure of the effectiveness of research can be damaging, said outgoing Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council chairman Dr Alan Rudge at the council’s annual conference on Wednesday.
His message to the House of Commons science and technology select committee, which is investigating the effectiveness of technology transfer, was: ‘Cool it on intellectual property rights. It’s not the way forward.
‘Trying to evaluate the technology that comes out of research in those terms is a red herring,’ he said. The function of research is ‘to generate knowledge and get it flowing out to the wider community.’ To make universities defensive about patenting would weaken the relationship between them and industry, he said.