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Proposal to merge Innovate UK should be reconsidered

1 July 2016

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee calls on the Government to drop its proposals to incorporate Innovate UK into UK Research and Innovation.


In a letter to the Science Minister, Jo Johnson MP, the Chairman of the Committee, the Earl of Selborne, says the Committee believes that plans to incorporate Innovate UK into UKRI are wrong and endanger its important business-facing focus.

The letter also says they are not convinced of the merits of moving from grants to loans as a means of funding, and that the integration of the two bodies is not a natural fit.

Finally, the letter urges the Government to make sure there are safeguards in place, should the proposals for a merger go ahead, which would protect the key strengths of Innovate UK, namely autonomy, its funding, and its focus on encouraging innovation through business.


Earl of Selborne, Chairman of the Committee said:

“There is a lot at stake here. The UK is classed as the second most innovative nation in the world, and Innovate UK, as the agency responsible for driving forward UK innovation, is therefore a significant player.

Our first concern over these proposals is what we see as a poorly researched and too narrow premise. It was not clear to us the Government had a strong and clear evidence base with which to put this restructure on the table, and we believe it then failed to consult properly before developing its white paper.

But more importantly we think that the plans are not sound. We believe that Innovate UK would lose its valuable business-facing focus if it were to be placed within UK Research and Innovation, and the consequences could be damaging. We urge the Government to think again.

Finally, if these plans are enacted, it's imperative the Government protects the core functions of Innovate UK, namely those of autonomy, a protected budget, and business-oriented outlook.”

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