Defra Launches Expert Group to Boost Commercial Returns on R&D

The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched an expert advisory group to explore ways to generate commercial returns from its research and development spending. The group will examine financing mechanisms, including a potential new fund, to boost productivity and economic growth in the agri-tech and environmental sectors.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Defra Launches Expert Group to Boost Commercial Returns on R&D

Defra Launches Expert Group to Boost Commercial Returns on R&D

The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched an expert advisory group to explore ways to generate commercial returns for taxpayers from the department's research and development (R&D) and innovation spending. The group, which will consist of a chair and seven members, aims to boost productivity and economic growth in the agri-tech and environmental sectors while increasing value for money.

Why this matters: This initiative has the potential to drive innovation and economic growth in key sectors, ultimately benefiting the UK's economy and environment. By exploring new financing mechanisms, Defra can unlock the commercial potential of R&D investments, leading to breakthroughs in sustainable agriculture and environmental protection.

The advisory group will examine how to best deliver funding to support innovative projects while maximizing commercial returns. They will explore various financing mechanisms, including the possibility of a dedicated new fund, joint ventures, revenue sharing arrangements, and licensing of intellectual property.

Defra Secretary Steve Barclay emphasized the importance of science and technology in strengthening food security, enhancing nature, and protecting the environment. "We are now recruiting for a specialist advisory group to explore options for a more commercial approach to Defra's R&D and innovation funding, from revenue sharing to setting up a dedicated new fund for innovation whilst offering the taxpayer a return on their investment," Barclay stated.

Defra's R&D budget currently supports the development of new technologies and innovation, often through grants. However, organizations face challenges in accessing finance for scaling up and commercializing their products or services, causing them to miss commercial opportunities or lose out to international competition. The expert advisory group aims to address these barriers.

Applications for the advisory group roles are open until midday on Monday, June 3. The group is expected to meet for a duration of three months. Defra is seeking leading experts from academia, business, and the financial sector to join the committee and contribute their expertise in finance, venture capital, intellectual property, and innovation.

The launch of the expert advisory group marks a significant step in Defra's efforts to drive innovation and generate commercial value from its R&D investments. By exploring new financing mechanisms and partnerships, the department aims to support the growth of the UK's agri-tech and environmental sectors while ensuring taxpayers benefit from the commercial success of innovative projects.

Key Takeaways

  • Defra launches expert advisory group to explore commercial returns from R&D spending.
  • Group aims to boost productivity and economic growth in agri-tech and environmental sectors.
  • Advisory group will examine financing mechanisms, including new fund, joint ventures, and licensing.
  • Goal is to support innovative projects and maximize commercial returns for taxpayers.
  • Applications for advisory group roles open until June 3, seeking experts from academia, business, and finance.