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Shaping the future of UK innovation

Hughes Hall Fellow helps us get smart about our knowledge assets

Dr Andrew Mackintosh has been working with Her Majesty’s Treasury to help government departments make better use of their ‘knowledge assets’. The resulting report has now been published: The Mackintosh ReportGetting smarter: a strategy for knowledge & innovation assets in the public sector sets out a strategy to capitalise on the full breadth of ideas, research, technology, and data found across the UK’s public sector, essential to securing the country’s status as a ‘science superpower’. The initiative received £17m of launch funding in the last government spending review signalling a significant ongoing commitment to this work at the national level.

“The UK’s public sector is a remarkable source of innovation. It is bursting with potential, and rich with ideas and insights that could help to shape the future of our country as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. From an innovative sepsis test which could save millions of lives globally to Met Office weather sensors that may make possible the next generation of autonomous vehicles, we are already in the vanguard of technological progress” said Dr Mackintosh.

“However, we need to manage these so-called ‘knowledge assets’ wisely. With an estimated £104 billion of knowledge assets held by central government, only by investing in them properly will they deliver the enormous benefits they offer to our economy and society, boosting productivity and improving the quality of life in the UK.”

Andrew hopes the Report will stimulate new connections and feedback, including from members of the collegiate University, as the project moves into its implementation phase: “This report should resonate with many in our research communities for whom the value of knowledge transfer and innovation is paramount. It may be of particular interest to associates at Hughes Hall where we see our core strengths in research translation, cultivating connections, and achieving impact all encapsulated in our Bridge Initiative.”

UK knowledge assets include intellectual property, innovation, R&D, data, know-how, business process expertise and other intellectual resources, all of which are fundamental to the successful delivery of government’s objectives and can bring significant social, economic and financial benefits.

The Mackintosh Report set outs a new strategy to get greater value from these assets in the public sector and is focused around three pillars: good practice, incentives and support. Once implemented it will see comprehensive new guidance for the public sector to protect and exploit their assets; the tools and financial incentives to develop a knowledge management strategy and drive change; and importantly, the establishment of a new government unit with oversight of this wider knowledge agenda and with significant new funding streams for innovation. It is also essential that public sector innovators can engage effectively with business, investors, and UK-wide academia therefore the new unit will also facilitate the operation of this network.

Hughes Hall is always delighted to hear your news. Please email comms@hughes.cam.ac.uk with details of your research, publications, or updates on other achievements.