Since Intellect is a member of the Information Age Partnership, an industry-government discussion forum established by the DTI, it was very pleasing to see the IAP's i2010 Working Group's paper Delivering i2010: Ensuring the Right Conditions for an Innovative, Inclusive and Competitive UK Knowledge Economy, published last week.
The report, which was the result of several months of work, calls on government, industry and academia to improve how they work together to ensure a strong UK knowledge economy. It makes several radical proposals, some of which build on work that organisations like Intellect are already pursuing. For example it calls for the extension of R&D tax credits to include items such as capital expenditure and it stresses the importance of making computing courses more attractive as part of an overall campaign to address the technology industry's skills shortage.
The most interesting recommendation is to do with venture capital funding for startups. As noted previously in this blog, the UK is great for innovation, but not great for turning this innovation into concrete businesses. Many UK innovations are going abroad and much of the venture capital funding for technology startups that stay in the UK is still coming from the US. The report suggests reducing bureaucracy so that local funding is easier for small companies to secure.
This sounds like an interesting idea and a seminar is planned for June to discuss all the proposals contained in the report. However, the IAP is sponsored by the DTI - a department that several political commentators are saying could be dissolved and its constituent parts folded into other government departments in the next few months. If this is the case, let's hope that the IAP finds a good home and that these proposals are not forgotten. Intellect, for one, will be pushing for them to be acted upon.
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