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Foresighting Trajectories for Advanced Innovative Technologies
Briefing for the National Science and Innovation Conference 2014
There is a renewed determination in the UK to ensure that we capitalise on the excellence of our scientific research and capture the economic and societal benefits from the basic research that we fund. Many important initiatives from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), in collaboration with the Research Councils UK, are designed to support the translation from basic science to practical outcomes, encouraging public and private bodies to work together to facilitate innovation processes. These investments are leading to an innovation environment that may be better today than it has been in living memory.
In order to capture this potential, however, we need a radically new approach to innovation support from the social sciences, to help businesses navigate the many uncertainties along the way from basic science to practical impact. This should build on a better understanding of the multiplicity of factors – technological, regulatory and societal – that determine not just which innovations reach a marketplace, but also the innovative capacity and competitive advantage of industry sectors, regions and countries.
The Innogen Institute bases its research and advisory work on a framework that captures the important aspirations, opportunities and pathways to impact for advanced innovative technology sectors – and adds to that an integrative analysis of interactions between innovators, policymakers and stakeholders. This allows us to foresight more effectively the future outcomes of specific policies, regulatory initiatives, innovation support mechanisms and investment decisions, as well as to identify gaps in the capacity of policymakers, regulators, funders and other important actors to be responsive to the rapid pace of innovation.