Global Experience in Policy and Program Development
Edited by Sarfraz A. Mian
Chapter 3: Stimulating Regional Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The UK Policy Framework
Helen Lawton Smith INTRODUCTION The UK’s policy to improve its competitive performance in science and technology (S&T) is heavily geared towards stimulating innovation-led entrepreneurship. While the UK innovation system is performing well overall (EIS, 2006), a number of weaknesses persist. For example, there are too few innovators, potential innovators lack skills and appropriate incentives to innovate, UK spending on R&D lags behind that of competitor countries, and the country has a weak record of turning established strengths in basic research into commercial success (HM Treasury, 2003). Collectively, this results in a persistent lower innovation performance compared to competitors in Europe, Asia and particularly the USA (Coombs et al., 2006), a theme that regularly appears in government reports (e.g. BERR/DIUS). This chapter identifies the UK’s main measures designed to develop a stronger culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, and examines evidence on what has worked and what has not. To do this, the chapter adopts a threefold system failure framework developed by Woolthuis et al. (2005) in order to provide the context for policy intervention. This framework focuses on (i) what kinds of failure occur, (ii) what interactions between different actors (firms, universities etc.) are hindered, the justification for science and innovation based policy choices, and (iii) the evaluation of government policies. The chapter begins by tracing recent developments in the UK science and innovation policy framework, and provides an overview of organizational structures. It proceeds by reviewing the implementation of the four major strands of the policy framework: innovation,...
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