Last week’s poll: capitalising on new science

A report reveals that the UK is lagging far behind China, the US and South Korea in patent applications related to graphene. How should research into new discoveries such as this be handled?

Commercialising an emerging research field is a tricky business, and one the UK has all too often got wrong. In our poll inspired by the news that the UK is lagging behind its competitors in patents related to graphene, the largest group of respondents, 41 per cent, said that research into patentable applications should begin as soon as possible after the basic research discovery. The nest largest, 32 per cent, said that the government should act faster to set up dedicated research programmes to investigate pathways to commercialisation. Just inder a fifth said that the researchers should look to link up with business that can support dedicated applications research, regardless of whether that company is based in the same country that made the discovery in the first place. The smallest group, 9 per cent, said that basic research should continue to be the priority; this could, perhaps, reveal more properties which could lead to commercialisation.

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Do you think that the lack of UK-based patents for graphene is a problem? Has the UK missed out on yet another potential industry? Let us know below.