Evidence Base for Innovation Policy (UK~IRC) (CBR project)


This project is not supported by funded research fellows. It draws on inputs by senior academics associated with the UK~IRC programme and other academics and policy makers taking part in the research process. Its objectives are to identify the principal channels by which the evidence base on innovation informs public policy in its national comparative context. Substantive work began in the second full year of funding. It is intended to run throughout the life of the UK~IRC. It has begun with a series of seminars and discussions with senior policy makers in the UK which has been linked with a number of knowledge hub events and with the establishment of a collaborative arrangement with the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) at Cambridge.

In addition to this activity, the project has worked in collaboration with three other projects funded respectively by the EPSRC and the DIME EU Network to fund for fieldwork which has been carried out in the USA and Japan and has involved a series of case study interviews with key policy makers and intermediaries involved in the policy development process. The final outputs of the project will be a series of papers in the evidence base for policy past, present and future. Important intermediate inputs involve the development of a series of seminars for UK policy makers drawing together not only the insights arising from this stream of research itself, but from the wider innovation policy research base in the UK. 

The achievements to date are:

  • established collaborative arrangement with CSaP to host a series of business and policy practitioners to visit UK~IRC and establish potential contacts
  • held a 1-day seminar for BIS on key aspects of evidence from innovation studies research relevant to the current UK innovation review in progress
  • held an innovation summit to draw together public sector, research councils’, charitable organisations’ attitudes towards the assessment of impact and the experience of impact assessment in the USA.


Journal articles

Mina, A, Bascavusoglu-Moreau, E. and Hughes, A. (2013) ‘Open service innovation and the firm’s search for external knowledge’, Research Policy, published online and forthcoming in print (DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2013.07.004). 

Mina, A., Bascavusoglu-Moreau, E. and Hughes, A. (2013) ‘Exploiting knowledge flows: openness and the innovative performance of business services’ Best Paper Proceedings, 2013 Academy of Management Meeting.

Mina, A., Lahr, H. and Hughes, A. (2013) ‘The demand and supply of external finance for innovative firms’ Industrial and Corporate Change, 22(4): 1-33.

Perkmann, M., Tartari, V., McKelvey, M., Autio, E. Broström, A., D’Este, P., Fini, R., Geuna, A., Grimaldi, R., Hughes, A., Krabel, S., Kitson, M., Llenera, P., Lissoni, F., Salter, A. and Sobrero, M. (2013) ‘Academic engagement and commercialisation: a review of the literature on university-industry relations’ Research Policy, 42(2): 423-442.

Probert, J., Connell, D. and Mina, A. (2013) ‘R&D service firms: the hidden engine of the high-tech economy?’ Research Policy, 42 (6-7): 1274-1285. 

Hughes, A., Cosh, A. and Fu, X. (2012) ‘Organisation structure and innovation performance in different environments’ Small Business Economics, 33: 301-317.

Hughes, A., Deiaco, E. and McKelvey, M. (eds) (2012) Cambridge Journal of Economics Special Issue: Universities as strategic actors in the knowledge economy, Volume 36 (3).

Hughes, A. and Kitson, M. (2012), ‘Pathways to impact and the strategic role of universities: new evidence on the breadth and depth of university knowledge exchange in the UK and the factors constraining its development’ Cambridge Journal of Economics, 36: 712-750.

Hughes, A., Deiaco, E. and McKelvey, M. (2012) ‘Universities as strategic actors in the knowledge economy’ Cambridge Journal of Economics Special Issue, 36: 525-541.

Tether, B., Li, C. and Mina, A. (2012) ‘Knowledge-bases, places, spatial configurations and the performance of knowledge-intensive professional service firms’, Journal of Economic Geography 26: 969-1001. 

Dodgson, M., Foster, J., Hughes, A. and Metcalfe, J.S. (2011), ‘Systems thinking, market failure, and the development of innovation policy: The case of Australia’, Research Policy 40 (9): 1145-1156, (www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733311000965).

Hughes, A., Sutherland, W.J., Bellingan, L., Bellingham, J.R., Blackstock, J.J., Bloomfield, R.M., Bravo, M., Cadman, V.M., Cleevely, D.D., Clements, A., Cohen, A.S., Cope, D.R., Daemmrich, A.A., Devecchi, C., Anadon, L.D., Denegri, S., Doubleday, R., Dusic, N.R., Evans, R.J., Feng, W.Y., Godfray, H.C.J., Harris, P., Hartley, S.E., Hester, A.J., Holmes, J., Hulme, M., Irwin, C., Jennings, R.C., Kass, G.S., Littlejohns, P., Marteau, T.M., McKee, G., Millstone, E.P., Nuttall, W.J., Owens, S., Parker, M.M., Pearson, S., Petts, J., Ploszek, R., Pullin, A.S., Reid, G., Richards, K.S., Robinson, J.G., Shaxson, L., Sierra, L., Smith, B.G., Spiegelhalter, D.J., Stilgoe, J., Stirling, A., Tyler, C.P., Winickoff, D.E. and Zimmern, R.L. (2012) ‘A collaboratively-derived science-policy research agenda’. PLoSONE 7 (3), March.

Hughes, A. (2010), ‘Entrepreneurship and innovation policy: retrospect and prospect’, Political Quarterly, 79:133-152. 

Metcalfe, J.S. (2010) ‘University and business interactions: connecting the knowledge economy’ Minerva, 48: 5-33.

Metcalfe, J.S. (2010) ‘Technology in economic theory’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34: 153-172.

Book chapters

Kitson, M. and Michie, J. (2014) ‘The deindustrial revolution: the rise and fall of UK manufacturing, 1870-2010’ in R. Floud and P. Johnson (eds), The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain, Volume 2 (Cambridge: CUP), forthcoming.

Hughes, A. (2013) ‘Capital markets, innovation systems and the financing of innovation’ in M. Dodgson, D. Gann and N. Phillips (eds) (2013) The Oxford Handbook of Innovation Management (Oxford: OUP) forthcoming.

Hughes, A. (2012) ‘Choosing races and placing bets: UK national innovation policy and the globalisation of innovation systems’ in D. Greenaway (ed.) The UK in a Global World – How can the UK focus on steps in global value chains that really add value? (London: CEPR).

Kitson, M. (2012) ‘Regional competitiveness and regional policy: some insights from the UK’ in A. Brugnoli and A. Colombo (eds.) Government, Governance and Welfare Reform. Structural Changes and Subsidiarity in Italy and Britain (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar).

Kitson, M. (2013) ‘Britain’s withdrawal from the Gold standard: the end of an Epoch’ in R. Parker and R Whaples (eds.), Handbook of Major Events in Economic History (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Metcalfe, J.S and Foster, J. (2010) ‘Evolutionary growth theory’, in M. Setterfield (ed), Handbook of Alternative Theories of Economic Growth (Cheltenham, Edward Elgar).

Metcalfe, J.S. (2010) ‘Competitiveness and comparative advantage: towards an evolutionary approach to growth and foreign trade’, in A. Birolo, D. Foley, H. Kurz, B. Schefold and I. Steedman (eds.) Production, Distribution and Trade: Alternative Perspectives: Essays in Honour of Sergio Parinello (London, Routledge).

Special reports

Hughes, A., Kitson, M., Bullock, A. and Milner, I. (2013) The Dual Funding Structure for Research in the UK: Research Council and Funding Council Allocation Methods and the Pathways to Impact of UK Academics, A Report from the Centre for Business Research (CBR) and the UK Innovation Research Centre (UK~IRC) to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Hughes, A.,Docherty, D., Eyton, D. and Pearce, S. (2012) Growing Value – Business-University Collaaboration for the 21st Century, CIHE-UK~IRC Enhancing Value Task Force, December. 

Hughes, A. (with PACEC) (2012) Analysis of TSB University Engagement Practices, PACEC and CBR, April.

Enhancing Impact: The Value of Public Sector R&D, UK~IRC and CIHE, Report.

Hughes, A., Mina, A. (2012) The UK R&D Landscape, UK~IRC and CIHE, Report. 

Mina, A., Probert, J. (2012) Enhancing collaboration, creating value: Business interaction with the UK research base in four sectors, UK~IRC and CIHE, Report. 

CBR/PACEC (2010), The Higher Education Knowledge Exchange System in the United States, A report to HEFCE by PACEC and the Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge, July.

Working papers

Lahr, H., Hughes, A. and Kitson, M. (2013) ‘Signalling, absorptive capacity and the geographic patterns of academic knowledge exchange’. Working Paper, April 2013.

Conference/Workshop papers

Hughes, A. (2013) ‘Measuring the Impact of Public Sector Funding for Science Base Research: How can we know if it pays off?’, Meeting of the Science Council, London, 8 October.

Hughes, A. (2013) ‘Mechanisms for Enhancing the Impact of University-based Research on Company Innovation and Business Performance: An International policy comparison’, ATSE Workshop – Translating Research into Productivity: Rethinking Linkages, Brisbane, 8 August.

Hughes, A. (2013) ‘What future action should Government take given implications of change presented?’, Foresight High Level Stakeholder Group Meeting, EEF Broadway House, London, 2 July.

Hughes, A. (2013) ‘The Myth of the Ivory Tower: Universities and the Wealth of Nations’, Sidney Club of Geneva Annual Dinner, Geneva, 22 June.

Hughes, A. and Kitson, M. (2013)’ The Dual Funding Structure for Research and the Impact Pathways of Academics in the UK’, Roundtable Discussion with the Rt Hon David Willetts, BIS, 1 Victoria Street, London, 22 May.

Hughes, A. (2013) ‘Industrial Strategy’, Foresight Roundtable Discussion, EEF Broadway House, London, 29 April.

Hughes, A. (2013) ‘The Business of Science’, House of Commons Policy Events Series, House of Commons, London, 15 March.

Kitson, M. (2013) ‘The Connected University: Universities, Knowledge Exchange and Local Economic Growth’, Meeting of the Directors General of Higher Education, Dublin 22nd-23rd April.

Kitson, M. (2013) ‘Why the Euro will collapse’, Whither Europe?’ CIBAM Global Business Symposium, 21 June.

Kitson, M. (2013)’Regional growth and regional innovation policy’, Local Economic Growth: Recession, Resilience and Recovery Conference Cambridge, 11 July.

Lahr, H.and Mina, A. (2013) ‘Exit risk, technological opportunities and the stage distribution of venture capital investments’, BAFA 2013, April.

Lahr, H., Hughes, A. and Kitson, M. (2013) ‘Signalling, absorptive capacity and the geographic patterns of academic knowledge exchange’, DRUID 2013. 

Lahr, H. and Mina, A. (2013) ‘Exit risk, technological opportunities and the stage distribution of venture capital investments’, FMA 2013, (forthcoming).

Lahr, H. and Mina, A. (2013) ‘Dynamic financial constraints and innovation: Evidence from the UK Innovation Surveys’ presented at CONCORDi 2013 (won the best paper award), (forthcoming).

Hughes, A. (2012) ‘Intervene or stand back – what should be the industrial strategy for the UK?’, Foundation for Science and Technology Debate, London, 14 November.

Hughes, A. (2012) ‘Stocktaking of three national systems: The situation in the UK’, IG Workshop on Research & Innovation Public Research Systems and Innovation in Europe: Which kind of research institution/ arrangement of institutions do we need?, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, 12 November.

Hughes, A. (2012) ‘Enhancing Value Task Force’, Round Table Debate, Portcullis House, 1-2 Bridge Street, London, 1 November.

Hughes, A. (2012) ‘Innovation and Technology Organisations: Role and Impact, What does success look like for innovation and technology centres?’, IET, 2 Savoy Place, London, 22nd October.

Hughes, A. (2012) ‘Globalization and the Value of UK R&D’, CIHE Breakfast hosted by Sir John Parker, Chairman, Anglo American, 20 Carlton House Terrace, London, 16 October.

Hughes, A. (2012) ‘Pathways to Impact in the UK: A Comparative Analysis of Knowledge Exchange in the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and the Arts and Humanities’, OECD TIP-RIHR Thematic Workshop on Knowledge Transfer, Exploitation and Commercialisation, OECD, Paris, 5th October. 

Hughes, A. (2012) ‘The UK R&D Landscape and the Impact of Publicly Funded Research: Selected Findings’, CIHE-UK~IRC Task Force: Launch of Enhancing Collaboration, Creating Value, Digital TV Group, London, 3rd September.

Kitson, M. (2012) ‘The Myth of the Ivory Tower: The Role of Academics in the Innovation Ecosystem’, Innovation Policy Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs University of Toronto, 1 November.

Hughes, A. (2012) spoke at UK~IRC/CIHE Task Force Steering Group Meeting, BP, 1 St James’s Square, London, 26 June.

Hughes, A. (2012) Industrial Strategy, Technology Policy and the Research Base: Some Reflections on the Enhancing Value Task Force, BIS Workshop, Central House, 14 Upper Woburn Place, London, 20 June.

Hughes, A. and Martin, B. (2012), The Impact of UK Public Sector Research, Presentation at BIS, London, 11 May.

Hughes, A. (2012), Measuring the Impact of UK Publicly Funded Research: Challenges and Opportunities, Presentation at the CaSE Workshop on Spending Review 2013, Cancer Research UK, London, 25 May.

Hughes, A. (2012), The UK R&D Landscape, presentation at Staff Seminar, University of Auckland Business School, 15 March.

Hughes, A. (2012) The UK R&D Landscape: Selected Findings, Enhancing Value Taskforce Presentation at BIS, London, 31 January.

Hughes, A. gave a 10 minute presentation followed by Q&A session at Growth and Innovation System Conference, Medical Research Council, London, 13 January.

Hughes, A. (2011), Universities R&D and the Growth Agenda, CIHE-Anglo American Breakfast Meeting, 20 Carlton House Terrace, London, 2 November.

Hughes, A. (2012) ‘Choosing Races and Placing Bets: UK National Innovation Policy and the Globalisation of Innovation Systems’, Conference Paper, BIS, CEPR and ESRC Conference ‘UK in the Global World’, BIS Conference Centre, London, 14 June.

Hughes, A. (2012), National Innovation Policy and Global Innovation Systems: Key challenges and opportunities for the UK, BIS, CEPR and ESRC Conference ‘UK in the Global World’, BIS Conference Centre, London, 14 June.

Hughes, A. (2012) Innovation Policy as Cargo Cult: Lessons for the Future, ESF/STOA Conference, European Parliament, Brussels (via telelink), 28 February.

Hughes, A. (2012), Universities & R&D and the Growth Agenda, EPSRC SAN Maximising Value meeting, MRC, London, 30 January.

Hughes, A. (2011), Universities in Innovation Systems, Presentation at the IIM-B, Bangalore, 16 November.

Hughes, A. (2011), Innovation Policy: Learning from Global Best Practice, Presentation at the Global Innovation Roundtable, Delhi, 14 November.

Connell, D. (2010) ‘The University research treasure cave myth and the low hanging fruit’, presentation to UK~IRC workshop on Universities and the Knowledge Economy, in collaboration with the Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge, 28-29 June 2010.

Connell, D. (2009) Institute for Manufacturing Annual Technology Management Conference, University of Cambridge, September 2009.

Hughes, A. (2010) ‘Growth, innovation and the science base: from cargo cult to industrial activism’, Plenary Keynote Address 3rd International Innovation and Enterprise Conference Tsinghua University Beijing 8 July 2010. 

Hughes, A. (2009) ‘Innovation and the “science” base’, Cabinet Office Seminar, 23 September 2009.

Hughes, A. (2009) ‘Innovation policy, university-industry links, open innovation and the new production of knowledge’, paper presented at the Symposium at Noors Slott: Changes of Science and Policy, 16 October 2009.

Hughes, A. (2010) ‘The science and research base: activities, interaction and the public good’, presentation at the BIS Science and Research Seminar: Science, The Economy and Society: An Overview of the Research Base and the Role of Government at BIS, 1 Victoria Street, London, 15 January 2010.

Hughes, A. (2010), ‘Growth, innovation and the science base: from cargo cult to industrial activism’, Joint Economic and Social Research Council and British Academy Event Does innovation produce economic growth?, One Great George Street, London, 16 March 2010.

Hughes, A. (2010) ‘System thinking, market failure and the development of innovation policy: the case of Australia’, International Schumpeter Conference, Aalborg University, 21-24 June 2010

Hughes, A. (2010) ‘A vision for UK research and innovation policy’ Modelling Futures: understanding Risk and Uncertainty, Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series, CRASSH, Cambridge, 28 May 2010. 

Hughes, A. (2010), ‘University-business/community interaction’, Presentation at Round Table Meeting with OECD Secretariat to consider Emerging Themes from the OECD Innovation Strategy, Imperial College London, 16 February.

Media coverage

Connell, D. (2010) Article in Financial Times on Myths Report, 15th February.

Hughes, A. (2010) appointment to CST published on Number 10.gov.uk – The official site of the Prime Minister’s Office, 20 March. 

Hughes, A. (2010) March 2010 cited in BBC News item, ‘UK science “must meet challenge” of emerging nations’. 

Hughes, A. (2010) cited in New Scientist, ‘Politicians have been misled by innovation myths’, 2 March. 

Hughes, A. (2010) cited in article Times Higher Education Supplement, ‘Britannia rules the knowledge-transfer waves’, 5 July. 

Hughes, A. (2010) Judge Business School Website. ‘Excellence is future for UK research!’ podcast, JBS website, 23 April.

Hughes, A. (2010) cited in article in Times Higher Education, ‘Mixed report card for academy’s civic impact’, 22 April.

Hughes, A. (2010) cited in article, Times Higher Education. ‘One extreme to the other and everything in-between’, 11 March.


2013 news alanhughes

Internationally renowned innovation expert Professor Alan Hughes has been appointed as the Queensland Government Innovator in Residence, based at the University of Queensland Business School. Professor Hughes is the Margaret Thatcher Professor of Enterprise Studies at Cambridge Judge Business School and Director of the Centre for Business Research (CBR) at the University of Cambridge, Director of the UK Innovation Research Centre (UK~IRC), and a UQ Business School Honorary Professor. Professor Mark Dodgson, Director of the Technology and Innovation Management Centre at UQ Business School, said: "Through lectures and presentations to government and business, Alan will draw on his world-leading research on issues of great importance to Queensland and Australia, such as: How are small firms encouraged to grow? What can universities and businesses do to better work together? Which government policies encourage innovation? This is a great initiative from the Queensland Government, and we are very pleased that we have attracted such an eminent authority to this important position." Highlighting the relationship between UQ Business School and the Queensland Government, Professor Hughes will be delivering a high-profiled public lecture entitled "The Myth of the Ivory Tower: Universities and the Wealth of the Nation". This lecture will be held at UQ…

2012 news cbropeninnovation

The UK~IRC hosted a two-day conference on Open Innovation on 25-26 June 2012 at Imperial College London to mark the 10th anniversary of the publication of Professor Henry Chesbrough's Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. As a result of the conference a special issue of the journal Research Policy will be published entitled "Open Innovation: New Insights and Evidence", with guest editors Henry Chesbrough, Ammon Salter, Wim Vanhaverbeke and Joel West, working in conjunction with Research Policy co-editor Ashish Arora. Topics for the conference included: How does the use of open innovation impact the capabilities of the firm to engage in business venturing and strategic renewal? What environmental and internal factors trigger companies to engage in open innovation? What are the performance implications of open innovation? Under what conditions do the costs of open innovation exceed the benefits? How have patterns of open innovation changed over time? What synergies are available by combining inbound and outbound modes of innovation? How should open innovation be applied in new ventures and small and medium-sized companies? How does open innovation change the role of intellectual property in a firm? What the conceptual and empirical limitations of prevailing models…

Events london parliament 229x205 1

The House of Commons Select Committee agreed on 14 December 2011 to launch a new inquiry: Bridging the "Valley of Death": Improving the Commercialisation of Research. Written evidence The Committee invited written submissions on the terms of reference by February 2012. The Centre for Business Research (CBR) and UK Innovation Research Centre (UK~IRC) submitted evidence, as did CBR's Senior Research Fellow David Connell. Read the written evidence submitted by the Centre for Business Research (CBR)Read the written evidence submitted by David Connell Oral evidence Oral evidence in April included David Connell, Co-Founder of TTP Ventures and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Business Research/UK Innovation Research Centre, University of Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge; and Matthew Bullock, Chairman of both CBR and UK~IRC. Read the uncorrected transcript of the oral evidence held on 18 April 2012Read the uncorrected transcript of the oral evidence held on 25 April 2012Watch a video of the oral evidence held on 18 April 2012Watch a video of the oral evidence held on 25 April 2012…

Centre for business research cbr 229x205 1

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…

2010 news cbr

Professor Hughes re-appointed as member to the Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology 16 December 2010 The Prime Minister today re-appointed five members, including Professor Alan Hughes, appointed four ex-officio members, and launched the recruitment of up to around ten new members to the Council for Science and Technology (CST). The appointments will commence on 1 January 2011 when current members' appointments expire. The CST is the UK Government’s top-level advisory body on science and technology policy issues. It reports directly to the Prime Minister. Find out more Visit the Gov.uk website to read more about the Council for Science and Technology reappointments Higher Education on Regional Economies Research Initiative Conference 18 November 2010 Professor Alan Hughes and Mr Michael Kitson both spoke at the Higher Education on Regional Economies Research Initiative Conference that took place in Edinburgh on 16-17 November 2010. Professor Hughes discussed the phenomenon of investment in higher education being seen as a route to economic recovery. Michael Kitson talked about the impact of expenditure cuts in UK higher education and the implications for society and long-term economic growth, and highlighted the extensive knowledge exchange taking place between academics and the private, public and third sectors.…