Technology Transfer

Oral Answers to Questions — Innovation, Universities and Skills – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 26th July 2007.

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Photo of Andy Reed Andy Reed Labour, Loughborough 10:30 am, 26th July 2007

If he will make a statement on the Government's support for technology transfer arrangements.

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Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Minister of State (Science and Innovation), Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

The Government are strongly committed to technology transfer from the research base. We support technology transfer in both universities and public laboratories, for example, through the higher education innovation fund. That has delivered significant improvements in the past 10 years.

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Photo of Andy Reed Andy Reed Labour, Loughborough

My hon. Friend knows from his discussions with companies such as Intelligent Energy, which grew out of Loughborough university, that they are massively successful and will, hopefully, provide world-class energy technology facilities through fuel cell technology. He will be pleased to know that universities have said that the higher education innovation fund is working mainly in the right way and that they support it. However, there are a few minor tweaks and amendments that they would like, for example, to the little gap in the pre-venture capital stage in innovation, and longer-term funding to allow staff from industry to be based in universities for longer. Will my hon. Friend meet me and representatives of other universities throughout the country, who would like some minor improvements, which would make an enormous difference to a track record that is already pretty good?

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Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Minister of State (Science and Innovation), Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

I would be happy to meet my hon. Friend and anybody he wants to bring along to discuss the matter. He is right to recognise the importance of the higher education innovation fund. Since the start of this century, we have invested more than £500 million in promoting university business links through the fund. We might need to do some tweaking for the next stage of the fund and we are considering moving further away from the bidding aspect to a formulaic approach. We have already consulted widely, but I would be more than happy to meet my hon. Friend.

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