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The UK Innovation Research Centre (UK~IRC)

Aims & objectives

In January 2009 the Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School and Imperial College Business School established a new collaborative venture - the UK Innovation Research Centre (UK~IRC). The Centre will receive about £3 million over the next five years to carry out the highest quality research into how innovation can make businesses more competitive, improve public services delivery and help the UK meet the social, environmental and economic challenges it faces.

The Centre was set up in response to The Government's 'Innovation Nation' White Paper (March 2008) and jointly funded by four partners: the Economic and Social Research Council; the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills; the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts; and the Technology Strategy Board.

The UK~IRC will directly address three key challenges and will also shed significant light on a fourth challenge. The direct challenges addressed are:

  • deepening and extending existing knowledge on the nature of open innovation and user-led innovation.
  • innovation in services, in particular knowledge-intensive business services, and their impact on innovation and business performance in goods and services systems of innovation.
  • innovation performance at a sector and business level and the human intellectual and organisational capital of businesses in selected sectors. 

The results of the research programme addressing the above challenges will have direct implications for a fourth challenge:

  • the economic, social and environmental effects of innovation by developing a better understanding of the relationships in innovation and productivity at the economy level and at the firm level. 

In addition to these key challenges identified in the invitation to tender, we propose to carry out an initial research project with two objectives:

  • to establish key UK innovation policy capability needs, including development and application of appropriate methods of policy appraisal.
  • to establish international best practice in policy engagement on the basis of a short, but focused international comparison of current innovation policy development and design. This issue is an essential precursor to the effective design and development of the long-run policy focused programme. 

We report below CBR outputs relating to the UK~IRC as a whole and in the following sections those for individual UK~IRC projects. We also report the activities of the UK~IRC Knowledge Hub.

Journal articles

Kitson, M., Martin R. and Tyler, R (2011) 'The geographies of austerity', Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 4(3): 289-302.

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

Abreu, M., Grinevich, V., Kitson, M. and Savona, M. (2010) 'Policies to enhance the "hidden" innovation in services: evidence and lessons from the UK' Service Industries Journal, January.

Burger, M., de Goeik B., Franken, K. and Kitson, M. (2010) 'Functional polycentrism and urban network development in the greater South East UK: evidence from commuting patterns, 1981-2001', Regional Studies

Reports

Hughes, A., Kitson, M., Probert, J., Bullock, A. and Milner, I. (2011) Hidden Connections: Knowledge exchange between the arts and humanities and the private, public and third sectors, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Swindon.

Book chapters

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 (forthcoming).

Kitson, M. (2012), 'Subsidiarity, proximity and innovation' in A. Colombo (ed) Subsidiarity Governance: Theoretical and Empirical Models, New York: Palgrave.

Kitson, M. (2012) 'End of an epoch: Britain's withdrawal from the Gold Standard', in Parker, R. and Whaples, R (eds) Handbook of Major Events in Economic History, London: Routledge, forthcoming.

Hughes, A., Moore, B. and Ulrichsen, T. (2011), 'Evaluating innovation policies: a case study of the impact of Third Stream funding in the English higher education sector', in M. Colombo, L. Grilli, L. Pisutello and C. Rossi Lamastra (eds). Science and Innnovation Policy for the New Knowledge Economy (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing (forthcoming).

Kitson, M, '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, Edward Elgar, London (forthcoming).

Hughes, A. (2010), 'Entrepreneurship and innovation policy: retrospect and prospect', in V. Uberoi, , A. Coutts, A. McLean and D. Halpern (eds) (2010), Options for Britain II: Cross Cutting Policy Issues - Changes and Challenges (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell).

Working papers

Hughes, A. and Mina, A. (2010) 'The Impact of the Patent System on SMEs', CBR WP 411, September.

Mina, A., Connell, D. and Hughes, A. (2009) 'Models of technology development in intermediate research organisations' CBR WP 396, December 2009.

Mina, A. (2010) 'Knowledge and the evolving Economy' working paper, CBR WP 411, September.

Wennberg, K., Lee, C., Tether, B. and Mina, A. (2010) 'Turning digital: diversification in UK design consultancy services' Imperial College London (Business School) Working Paper, March 2010; CBR Working 413, September.

Zhang, J. (2010) 'Searching for opportunities: guided vs. experiential process' working paper, in progress.

Zhang, J. and Baden-Fuller, C. (2010) 'Brokerage and firm network evolution: the complementary roles of architectural and functional broker' working paper, in progress.

Zhang, J., Baden-Fuller, C. and Pool, J. (2010) 'Resolving the tensions between monitoring, resourcing and strategizing: structures and processes in high technology venture boards' working paper, available at SSRN: ssrn.com/abstract=1650069

Conference/Workshop presentations

Kitson, M. (2011), 'New Developments in Innovation Practice and Policy', Cambridge in America, San Francisco, 5 November.

Kitson, M. (2011), 'EU research and innovation: What role for regions and cities after 2013?' Forum of the Committee of the Regions, Brussels, 13 December.

Kitson, M. (2011), 'New developments in the movement of ideas: from technology transfer to knowledge exchange', 4th International Technology Transfer Conference, Maribor, 25 October.

Kitson, M. (2011), 'The myth of the ivory tower: the connectivity of UK academia with the business, public and third sector', The Wealth of Universities Implications for Management Research, Imperial College and UK-IRC, 18 October.

Kitson, M . (2011), 'Universities, Knowledge Exchange and Local Economic Growth', Strategic Innovation: Cultivating Innovation in Strategic Public-Private Sector Partnerships, Birzeit University, Palestinian Territories, October 15.

Kitson, M. (2011), 'New Directions in Regional Innovation Policy', Innovation policy challenges in Europe's regions, European Policies Research Centre (EPRC) and the UK Innovation Research Centre (UK~IRC), Strathclyde, 16 September 2011.

Kitson, M. (2011), 'New Developments in Innovation Practice and Policy', Cambridge in America, Chicago, 13 July.

Kitson, M. (2012), 'The geographies of austerity', American Association of Geographers, New York, 25 February.

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), 'What academics and business want and get from knowledge exchange in the UK', presentation at the Enabling innovation: creative investments in Arts and Humanities Research policy seminar, The Work Foundation, 5 March.

Hughes, A. (2010), 'What academics and business want and get from knowledge exchange in the UK', RCUK Knowledge Transfer and Economic Impact Group (KTEIG) Meeting, Medical Research Council, 31 March.

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.

Hughes, A. and Kitson, M. (2010), 'Knowledge Exchange in the UK: Motivations, Impacts and Constraints', DIME Workshop: Universities on a Third Mission: External Engagement and Entrepreneurship by Academic Researchers, Alma Graduate School, University of Bologna - 11-12 February.

Hughes, A. and Kitson, M. (2009), Knowledge Exchange Between Academics and the Business, Public and Third Sectors, Presentation to HEFCE at Centre Point in London, 14 December.

Hughes, A. and Salter, A. (2009), 'Ivory Towers and Bamboo Aeroplanes: The role of University IP in UK (and US) Innovation Systems', Innovation Summit: The drivers of successful innovation and the appropriation of value, 8 December.

Hughes, A. and Salter, A. (2009), 'The role of British universities in creating wealth in the 21st century', Innovation Summit: The drivers of successful innovation and the appropriation of value, The Royal Society, London, 8 December.

Hughes, A., (2009), 'What Academics and Businesses want from Knowledge Exchange: The Case of the UK', AURIL 09' Annual Conference, Bristol, Thursday 8th October.

Hughes, A. (2009), 'Academic and Business Views of Knowledge Exchange and some potential questions for management practice research', AIM Management Practices Fellows Launch Meeting, 30 September.

Hughes, A. (2009), 'Knowledge Exchange Between Universities and the Business, Public and Third Sector], Research Councils UK, 8 September.

Kitson, M with Hughes, A. Knowledge Exchange between Academics and the Business, Public and Third Sectors, National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), London, 20 October 2009.

Mina, A., Connell, D. and Hughes, A. (2009) 'Models of technology development in intermediate research organisations' DRUID Summer Conference, Imperial College Business School, 16-18 June 2010.

Mina, A., Connell, D. and Hughes, A. (2009) 'Models of technology development in intermediate research organisations' International Schumpeter Conference, Aalborg University, 21-24 June 2010.

Zhang, J., Baden-Fuller, C. and Pool, J. (2010) 'How Early Venture Boards Add Value: an in-depth study of 8 UK High-Technology Ventures', 10-12 June, 2010. Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference, IMD& EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.

July 2012: Queensland Government: Innovator in Residence

25-26 June 2012: Open Innovation Conference: New Insights and Evidence

18 May 2012: The British Economy: Where to Now?

May 2012: Cambridge Journal of Economics: Special Issue

21 February 2012: CIHE-UK~IRC Task Force maps the UK's R&D landscape

April 2012: Bridging the "Valley of Death": Improving the Commercialisation of Research

25 November 2011: UK~IRC Innovation Summit 2011 - Growing Through Innovation

18 July 2011: The British Economy: As good as it gets?

July 2011: Business and Research combine to boost UK Economy

22 June 2011: Open Innovation Choices - What is British Enterprise doing?

February 2011: UK~IRC Research Paper Shortlisted for International Schumpeter Price

October 2010: UK~IRC responds to Government's Consultation Exercise

27 July 2010: Rebalancing in the Dark

12 May 2010: Weak Recovery out of recession is a Trap

4 March 2009: Launch of the UK Innovation Research Centre (UK~IRC)

March 2009: New Reserch Centre to give UK the innovation advantage

Director

Alan Hughes

Director of Research

Ammon Salter (Imperial College London)

Director of Knowledge Hub

Michael Kitson

Project leaders & principal investigators

Andy Cosh (University of Cambridge)
Bruce Tether (Imperial College London)
Jonathan Haskell (Imperial College London)
Martin Kilduff (University of Cambridge)
Stan Metcalfe (University of Cambridge)
Andrea Mina (University of Cambridge)
Bill Martin (University of Cambridge)
Tim Minshall (University of Cambridge)
David Connell (University of Cambridge)

Research fellows

Joanne Jin Zhang (University of Cambridge)
Cher Li (Imperial College London)

Research associates

Bob Rowthorn (University of Cambridge)
Ken Coutts (University of Cambridge)
Markus Perkmann (Imperial College London)
Philip Ternouth (CIHE)

Project dates

2009-2014

Funding

ESRC, NESTA, BIS, TSB