Economic and Social Research Council
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Reshaping the UK through innovation

High-growth and innovation are essential if the UK wants to successfully surface from the recession. Research has an important role to play in successfully introducing new improved services, products, processes and business models to support the business sector. In return this will give businesses more opportunities to effectively meet public demands and needs.

Following the successful implementation of phase one of the Innovation Research Initiative, the UK Innovation Research Centre (UK~IRC), and partners are pleased to announce phase two. This phase included applications in two research areas; substantive research projects and exploratory research projects.

Substantive research projects are based on longer-term research using relatively established methods. One such project will look beyond the current crisis to research the impact of changes in regulation in order to find new ways in which financial innovations can be developed within the UK. Another project will examine public procurement in a systematic way to understand how demand is communicated.

There is need for a better understanding of the conditions under which environmental regulation restrains organisational innovation; one project will provide an investigation on the impact of innovation strategies, processes and outcomes on UK housing developers. A further project seeks to research how significant is the reinvention of forgotten innovations and inventions, thereby maximising the value of previous research and hopefully providing a rich seam of potential future innovations. These Exploratory projects are shorter, focused pieces of research designed to explore potentially new lines of research methods and investigation.

'The new projects provide an exciting complement to the research projects already being performed in the centre', says Prof Alan Hughes, Director of the UK~IRC. 'My colleagues and I look forward to working closely with the new projects through the knowledge hub of UK~IRC to maximise interactions between the research programme of the different teams as well as the policy and practice community'.

The total funding amount for these projects is £1.5 million. Funding is agreed on an equal footing between the Economic and Social Research Council, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). Work will commence on 1 October 2009.

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Notes for editors:

  1. Substantive Research Projects:
  2. Exploratory Projects:
  3. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's planned total expenditure in 2009/10 is £204 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.
  4. The UK Innovation Research Centre (UK~IRC) is a collaborative initiative for cutting-edge research and knowledge hub activity in innovation. It is a joint venture between the Centre for Business Research at the Judge  Business School, University of Cambridge, and Imperial College London Business School. Over the next five years the Centre will 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.
  5. The Centre is co-funded by the Department for Innovation Universities and Skills (DIUS), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). (More information on the UK~IRC programme)
  6. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.
  7. NESTA is the largest independent endowment in the UK. Its mission is to support innovation to drive economic recovery and solve some of the UK's major social challenges. NESTA is a world leader in its field and is in a unique position to support and promote innovation through a blend of practical programmes, policy and research, and investment in early-stage companies.
  8. The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the government. Its role is to promote and support research into and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve quality of life. It is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

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