Vice-Chancellor supports national taskforce research recovery report

Keele University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Trevor McMillan, has played a role in the publication of a new Research and Development Taskforce report to help realise the ambition to create a more research intensive, innovation-led economy, which will be fundamental to the UK’s long-term recovery following the Covid-19 crisis. 

The report - Research to Recovery: Delivering an R&D-driven Industrial Strategy - published today, was written by the taskforce that was formed by the National Centre of Universities and Business (NCUB), at the request of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to consider the opportunities and challenges set out in the Research & Development Roadmap launched by the Government in July 2020.  

The roadmap set out the UK’s vision and ambition for science and a more research intensive, innovation-led economy, and the report advises the Government must develop an Industrial Strategy that has R&D as its engine. 

Professor McMillan was appointed to the leading business and universities taskforce earlier this year to advise UKRI on the future of UK research and development, along with the Chairs of BT, Rolls-Royce, GSK and Orsted, as well as the Presidents of both the CBI and Universities UK and four other Vice Chancellors from across the UK. 

The report recommendations includes a refresh of the Industrial Strategy to focus on research and innovation; establish a country-wide network to support businesses to innovate; create a Global Challenge Fund to encourage universities and business to pool their strengths and attract investment, and a coordinated approach needs to be taken to develop, upskill, retain and retrain domestic talent and attract global talent. 

Professor McMillan said: “I welcome the findings of this report and am proud to be part of the taskforce made up of leaders from universities and industry. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of collaborative working and the report demonstrates this will be critical to drive our long-term recovery.  

“Keele has always pioneered research partnerships between business and universities to support the local and national economy and strengthen innovation in both the UK and beyond, and this new report expands on this approach to drive.” 

Sam Laidlaw, Chair of NCUB and the R&D Taskforce, said: “The Government has rightly acknowledged that research and development is paramount in the nation’s recovery from Covid-19. We rely on research to understand how Covid-19 is transmitted, for potential treatments and vaccines. The UK’s research base is also key to meeting the decarbonisation goal and keeping the UK competitive in global markets. It is therefore crucial that Government, universities and business collectively act on the report’s recommendations to build a more resilient, productive and innovative economy.”