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What’s next in the Valley of Death? You decide

April 18, 2012
Bridging the Valley of Death

You get to pick the next issue from the Valley of Death to be explored on PST

Hearings for the Commons inquiry into bridging the valley of death between research and commercialisation began today with a session that covered vacuum cleaners, graphene and Stevenage. The video is already available.

In the background of the video, you can see a PST blogger sending tweets, collated in this Storify.

Here are some of the most interesting propositions put forward by witnesses. Which do you think is most worthy of further investigation? If you tweet us @PSTtweets or leave a comment below, we’ll take a look into the most popular idea.

1. Government should specify a problem it needs solving or a technology it requires and fund this research as a customer.

2. R&D tax credits should be redirected at small companies, not the large ones which should be covering themselves.
Both from David Connell from the University of Cambridge.

3. BIS’s programme of match funding is working.
From Paul Nightingale, Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Sussex.

4. The Patent Box scheme – Nightingale says it’s “probably the worst piece of public policy I’ve seen in my career”. (UPDATED as per the comments below.)

5. The UK has the opportunity for China to be a biosciences partner, not competitor: they have cash we have expertise.
From David Tapolczay, Medical Research Council Technology.

The next hearing will be at the same time next Wednesday and features investors. In the meantime, which of the above ideas should PST pursue?

Image courtesy of Heidi and Matt.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2012 1:36 pm

    Here’s a tweet from Rowan Gardner on a Valley-of-Death topic she’d like to see investigated that was missed from my list above:

    “How to connect women academics into the commercialization system. Research shows they are not in same networks of male colleagues”

    What do you think? This one or one of the ideas from the post above?

  2. Andrew Walsh permalink
    April 20, 2012 4:17 pm

    “4. Catapult centres (already covered on PST here and here) – Nightingale says it’s “probably the worst piece of public policy I’ve seen in my career”, while Connell says the best role models for the catapult centres are the four Cambridge technology consultancy centres.”

    Wasn’t Nightingale referring to Treasury’s Patent Box scheme with these words?

    • April 20, 2012 8:03 pm

      I just listened back and you’re right. But it does sounds like he’s saying “something-pult scheme”. Strange! I’ve updated the post above.

      Here’s the quote and time marker:
      One of the problems we face is unrealistic expectations about things like spin outs and SMEs and whether or not they’re going to produce much… I think the key issue is we need proper evaluation of these schemes. We really don’t know what works and it’s very, very complicated right now. And this has been a problem. I would make a suggestion, if we wanted to reallocate some money, to shut down the Patent Box scheme, take that billion and put it into whatever scheme you suggest. That’s probably one of the worst pieces of public policy I’ve seen in my career.
      10:15:25

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