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David Connell

Senior Research Fellow

Personal background

David Connell joined the Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge in 2006. 

He was previously founding Chief Executive of TTP Ventures, a Cambridge-based venture capital fund specialising in early stage science and technology-based ventures with funding from Boeing, Siemens and financial institutions. From 1989 to 1997, he was Head of TTP Groups Strategy Division, providing consulting advice on technology exploitation, innovation and business development strategy to a wide range of clients including Shell, BP, Nortel, ICI, Barclays Bank and the University of Cambridge.

David’s research interests include business models for new science and technology companies, technology commercialisation strategies, and government science and innovation policy. He research has also involved examining overseas innovation policy models and the role of intermediate research organisations like the Fraunhofer Institutes and Taiwan’s ITRI.

His research on the US Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and other US procurement based policies has had a major influence on Government thinking and his proposals form the basis of the UK SBRI programme. He advised the Department of Innovation Universities and Skills and the Technology Strategy Board on implementation His work also influenced the introduction of the EU’s new SME Instrument, as part of Horizon 2020.

He is a member of the NHS England SBRI Management Board and in 2017 carried out a major review of the use of SBRI nationally on behalf of the Prime Minister.

Selected publications

Connell, D. (2022) Independent Office for Innovation and Industrial Policy. Submission to House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.

Connell, D. (2021) Is the UK’s Flagship Industrial Policy a Costly Failure? An Independent Reappraisal of the Objectives, Theory, Practice and Impact of the UK’s £7.3 Billion a Year R&D Tax Credits and £1.1 Billion a Year Patent Box Schemes.

Connell, D. (2018) Building a UK Mittelstand; increasing the role of procurement and other demand led Innovation measures in the overall policy mix: submission to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the balance and effectiveness of science and innovation expenditure,

Connell, D. (2017) Short histories of some of the most successful STEM based companies started in the UK over the last 40 years. Case study.

Connell, D. (2017) Leveraging public procurement to grow the innovation economy: an independent review of the Small Business Research Initiative: final report and recommendations. Carried out for 10 Downing Street,

Connell, D. (2014) Creating markets for things that don’t exist: the truth about UK government R&D and how the success of SBRI points the way to a new innovation policy to help bridge the Valley of Death and rebalance the UK economy. Centre for Business Research, Centre for Science and Policy and Cambridge Network.

Connell, D. and Probert, J. (2010), Exploding the Myths of UK Innovation Policy: How ‘Soft Companies’ and R&D Contracts for Customers Drive the Growth of the Hi-Tech Economy, Research Commissioned on Behalf of the East of England Science and Industry Council by the East of England Development Agency. CBR, University of Cambridge.

Connell, D. (2010) Scientists are Customers too: How the SBRI can Help Research Councils drive Economic Growth, NESTA Provocation, No. 13, May 2010.

Sharpe, S., A. Cosh, D. Connell and H. Parnell (2009) Start-up Finance: The role of micro funds in the financing of new technology based businesses NESTA: London. 

Mina, A., Connell, D. and Hughes, A. (2009) ‘Models of Technology Development in Intermediate Research Organisations‘, Centre for Business Research Working Paper Series, WP 396, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.

Connell, D. (2006), ‘Secrets’ of the world’s largest seed capital fund: how the United States Government Uses its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Programme and Procurement Budgets to Support Small Technology Firms, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge.

Contact details

David Connell
Centre for Business Research
Cambridge Judge Business School
University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1AG