HC Deb 06 February 2002 vol 379 cc964-5W
Mr. Lyons

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress is being made to encourage the transfer of new technologies from universities to industry. [33033]

Ms Hewitt

We have introduced a number of complementary initiatives designed to encourage better interaction between universities and industry. This will enable businesses to access and benefit from the universities' research capabilities, and universities themselves become more responsive to the needs of industry.

In October 2001 the Government made awards in excess of £100 million under three competitions (the Higher Education Innovation Fund £80 million, Science Enterprise Challenge £15 million and University Challenge £15 million) to encourage the transfer of knowledge from the science base to industry.

This builds on the previous funding allocated to the first round of University Challenge, £45 million in 1999, and Science Enterprise challenge, £28.9 million in 1999–2000.

We have expanded the successful TCS scheme which enables high-quality graduates to draw on academic support and expertise while working in a company on research projects of value to industry. We have increased TCS activity by 25 per cent. during 2001; from 730 to 918 current TCS Programmes.

DTI and its co-sponsors have approved 18 Faraday Partnerships focused on areas of major industrial importance to the UK. Each partnership is designed to promote better exploitation of research and technology by creating partnerships between universities, intermediary bodies (eg research and technology organisations, private sector laboratories, etc.), business end-users and suppliers of finance. A further six partnerships will be selected later this year to enable us to fulfil our White Paper commitment to set up a national network of 24 Faraday Partnerships by 2002.

The Government have continued to support the LINK collaborative research scheme which is aimed at promoting the development and transfer of new technologies between universities and companies. Expenditure across Government in support of LINK was £41 million in 2000–01. The Government announced seven new LINK programmes and committed £12 million in 2000–01 to a further round of Foresight LINK Awards projects, complementing current LINK programmes in Foresight priority areas. There are currently a total of some 380 LINK university/company research projects under way.