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Science and Innovation Industry

Volume 513: debated on Thursday 8 July 2010

We will encourage universities to work with businesses and enhance the effectiveness of the UK’s innovation system to support successful business innovation. The coalition agreement made it clear that we are committed to refocusing the research and development tax credit on high-tech companies, small firms and start-ups, as recommended by Sir James Dyson. We are considering the other recommendations in his report.

May I say how nice it is to see such a heavyweight business and finance team on the Front Bench? I would also like to declare an interest as someone who has had a career in business before coming to the House. Does the Minister agree that, in order to unlock the significant economic potential of our science and research base, instead of scattering money to the four corners of the kingdom, as the previous Government tended to do, we should focus our money on those centres that have a demonstrable track record in commercialising technology, such as the excellent John Innes research centre and the Norwich research park on the edge of my constituency?

The John Innes centre is a centre for plant science, but that does not mean it was a planted question.

Order. May I gently remind the Minister, who always looks very comfortable at the Dispatch Box but is usually looking the wrong way, that he needs to look at, and address, the House as a whole?

I can assure the House that we are looking very carefully at the important issue of concentrating research funding in the areas where it will yield its greatest results. However, concentration means concentration of research in departments. It need not be done university by university.