Two heads are better than one, they say, and two UK business schools are hoping to prove that the adage is true. The Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge and the business school at Imperial College in London are to set up the the UK Innovation Research Centre and have been funded to the tune of £5m in order to do so.
The role of the centre is to carry out research into how innovation can make businesses more competitive, improve public services and help the UK meet the social, environmental and economic challenges it faces. The centre will work to ensure that its research has the greatest effect on policy and practice.
Director of the centre, Alan Hughes, the Margaret Thatcher professor of enterprise studies at the Judge, says that innovation is much more widely defined than it used to be. “It’s not just about successfully introducing new products; innovation in services, processes, even in business models and ways of working is increasingly important,” he says. “We need new research so that both practitioners and policy makers can understand the key issues in all these forms of innovation – particularly when current global economic conditions make it more important than ever to ensure that the UK’s innovative capacity is enhanced.”
In addition to building research capabilities, the UK Innovation Research Centre will also actively disseminate its work through a ‘Knowledge Exchange Hub’.
The £5m funding, to be paid over the next five years, comes from the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills; the Economic and Social Research Council; the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts; and the Technology Strategy Board. The centre is being set up in response to the Government’s ‘Innovation Nation’ White Paper, published in March this year.