Centre for business research cbr 229x205 1

Centre for Business Research (CBR) news from 2011

31 December 2011

The article at a glance

UK~IRC Innovation Summit 2011 – Growing through Innovation 26 November 2011 The Innovation Summit, UK~IRC’s annual one day conference for practitioners, policy-makers …

UK~IRC Innovation Summit 2011 – Growing through Innovation

26 November 2011

The Innovation Summit, UK~IRC’s annual one day conference for practitioners, policy-makers and academics, took place on 25 November 2011 at IBM Hursley in Winchester. It was a chance to debate hot topics in innovation and share best practice. This year’s event, entitled “Growing through Innovation”, united the latest academic research with real-world business concerns, to provide evidence-driven discussions on using innovation to sustain growth.

The British economy: as good as it gets?

18 July 2011

Has Britain’s productivity been permanently and drastically impaired by the banking crisis? And does this mean that the economy has already returned to near normal levels of capacity utilisation? Many policy makers say yes. A new research report challenges the evidence and cautions against excessive policy tightening that may risk a vicious spiral of weaker demand and weaker supply.

The report Is the British Economy Supply Constrained? A Critique of Productivity Pessimism by Bill Martin, Centre for Business Research, follows on from his April 2010 study and takes a detailed look at the reasons why Britain’s labour productivity has fallen short. He finds policy makers’ structural explanations unconvincing. Bill Martin argues that productivity weakness licensed by workers’ willingness to work for low real wages is symptomatic of an economy suffering deficient demand and excess indebtedness, and is not the result of a sudden loss of entrepreneurial flair.

Commenting on the research Professor Alan Hughes, Director of the Centre for Business Research at Cambridge and of the UK~IRC, said: “Understanding the sources of innovation and enterprise is central to the research programme of the UK~IRC. It is essential that fiscal and monetary policy decisions which bear directly on innovation and enterprise are based on well informed judgement about the structural state of the British economy, a key issue raised in Bill Martin’s timely and thought-provoking report.”

Business and research combine to boost UK economy

CIHE and UK~IRC announce launch of Research Taskforce

7 July 2011

The Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) and the UK-Innovation Research Centre (UK~IRC) have launched a major taskforce to answer the question “how does the UK maximise the value of publicly funded research?” The CIHE and UK~IRC believe that by uniting leading figures in industry and academia they will deliver an answer.

The Taskforce’s ambition is to ensure that Government policies and business and university activities are aligned to get maximum economic impact for the UK globally and to keep the country at the forefront of research. “We’ve set ourselves an exam question: How do we deepen understanding of the value of the research base in the UK and then enhance it?” says David Eyton, Group Head of Research and Technology at BP and the Taskforce’s co-chair. “We will explore this issue through workshops, research reviews, online collaboration channels, and interviews with many of the UK’s outstanding innovators. We will then present our recommendations to the Government in July 2012.”

Lord (David) Sainsbury, a member of the Steering Group, highlighted the importance of research to the UK in saying: “Innovation is the only way we will be able to compete in today’s global economy, and we should make the maximum use of our world-class research base.”

“The UK faces increasing competition from countries where investment in research is growing. We must ensure that we maximise the impact of research that takes place in the UK and that we understand how to facilitate effective partnerships between industry and higher education,” says Professor Shirley Pearce, Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University and co-chair of the Taskforce.

Professor Alan Hughes, Director of the UK~IRC, said: “The public sector is responsible for about a third of UK R&D. The central challenge is how best to enhance excellence in university research, maximise the strategic use of departmental public sector R&D and maximise complementarity with the private sector research and development effort.”

Dr David Docherty, CEO of the CIHE, concluded: “Industry and higher education must unite effectively to tackle the challenge coming from fast growing economies, and the Task Force will make a major contribution to this unity.”

Open innovation choices – what is British enterprise doing?

22 June 2011

Open Innovation (OI) has become a “way of living” for many businesses. The Centre’s Andy Cosh and Joanne Jin Zhang and the research team designed a survey to find out the facts behind the hype. Between June and November 2010 a survey was carried out among 12,000 UK firms with up to 999 employees, covering both manufacturing and business services sector. 1,202 firms completed the survey. A report with the first set of results was launched on 22 June 2011 at NESTA in London.

New report researches the knowledge exchange between the arts and humanities and the private, public and third sectors

17 May 2011

Research commissioned by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and undertaken by the Centre for Business Research (CBR) at Cambridge Judge Business School has shown that academics from the arts and humanities interact widely across the private, public and third sectors. The report showcasing this research, Hidden Connections: Knowledge Exchange between the Arts & Humanities and the Private, Public & Third Sectors, was launched on Tuesday 17 May 2011.

The report, the biggest study of its kind to focus on the arts and humanities, is based on three unique datasets and reveals several key findings: the arts and humanities are highly connected within the UK economy; they have significant links to the private sector; the academic benefits of knowledge exchange; benefits to students and the issues surrounding knowledge exchange.

The report enhances the AHRC’s understanding of the challenges and opportunities in knowledge exchange. It builds on and reinforces the work that the AHRC has undertaken in this important area and it will allow the AHRC to develop appropriate, evidence-based funding models and guidance.

Does too much labour flexibility harm the economy?

Lifting the burden of regulation on business is unlikely to make the UK more competitive, and further changes to employment law could have an adverse impact on our knowledge economy

23 March 2011

In an interview on employment law reform published on the Cambridge Judge Business School website, Simon Deakin, Assistant Director at the Centre for Business Research and Law Professor at the University of Cambridge, discusses the effects of changes proposed by the UK government. “There’s a growing degree of evidence that says that employment rights are good for innovation and the knowledge economy. The changes currently proposed probably won’t make much difference in this regard. But if we go further and seriously start cutting back within the limits allowed by EU law, that would be highly negative for UK competitiveness in my view. What we really need is to have a high skill, knowledge-intensive economy, and that doesn’t come from eroding away employment rights and encouraging firms to employ people on a casual or insecure basis. It only comes if there is some sort of social contract underpinning the relationship between labour and management.”

The arts & humanities: endangered species?

26 February 2011

On 25 February 2011, a group of eminent researchers who work in arts and humanities disciplines in universities around the UK gathered in Cambridge for a conference called “The Arts and Humanities: Endangered Species?” In light of the present funding reforms to Higher Education, each was asked to give a seven minute talk about why the arts and humanities matter and what cultural and social benefits these subjects bring. Some stressed their contribution to self-knowledge and the ability and freedom to ask questions; others on the dangers of the current reforms and the threat they pose to British higher education as a whole. Watch Professor Hughes’s presentation:

Find out more

Visit the University of Cambridge website to learn more about this event

The role of intermediate research organisations in the commercialisation of science

20 February 2011

The work of CBR’s Andrea Mina, David Connell and Alan Hughes on intermediate research organisations, carried out as part of the IKC Commercialisation Lab project, was widely quoted in the Hauser Review on the role of such bodies in relation to the commercialisation of science. The recommendations of their work were incorporated directly into the report. The policy recommendations in the Hauser Report led to the launch in 2011 of a new £200 million Technology and Innovation Centre programme in the UK.

Find out more

Visit the Gov.uk website to download the Hauser Report

UK~IRC research paper shortlisted for International Schumpeter Prize

17 February 2011

A paper by Cher Li, Andrea Mina, Bruce Tether and Karl Wennberg was shortlisted for the International Schumpeter Prize at the 7th European Meeting of Applied Evolutionary Economics Conference in Pisa. The conference, taking place 14-16 February 2011 at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, looked at “Evolutionary Perspectives on Technical Change and Industrial Dynamics”. The conference was sponsored by DIME and the International Schumpeter Society who fund the prize.