Future of Innovate UK investigated in new Lords inquiry

The Innovate UK inquiry will take place at the Palace of Westminster

The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee is to carry out an investigation into the future of Innovate UK, the UK's official innovation agency.

The government’s recent White Paper, Success as a Knowledge Economy: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice, announced that a new umbrella body UK Research and Innovation will be created, incorporating the Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

The government also plans to broaden the type of financial support available for innovation and to change Innovate UK’s existing funding model, possibly moving from a grant-based system to loans.

A brief consultation held by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in February 2016 raised concerns about the proposal.

The Committee will examine the “rationale for, and implications of, the incorporation of Innovate UK into UK Research and Innovation following the government's White Paper”. The Committee will also investigate other potential changes including new funding models.

Witnesses due to give evidence to the inquiry include:

  • David Eyton, group head of technology, British Petroleum
  • Dr Virginia Acha, executive director of research, medical and innovation, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Laura Smith, head of construction and manufacturing, Confederation of British Industry
  • Prof Luke Georghiou, vice president for research and innovation, Manchester University
  • Dr David Hardman, chairman, UKSPA
  • Dr Ruth McKernan, chief executive, Innovate UK
  • Prof Jackie Hunter, former chief executive, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
  • Gareth Davies, director general for business and science, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Jo Johnson MP, minister of state for universities and science, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The inquiry evidence sessions will take place on June 7 and 14.