The UK Government has announced plans for a new body to support the public sector in managing and commercialising its knowledge assets.
Named the Government Office for Tech Transfer (GOTT), it is scheduled for launch late this year, will sit within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and be led by Dr Alison Campbell OBE as its CEO.
Technology transfer is the broad term applied to the transfer of assets, such as intellectual property rights, technology or new knowledge, from one organisation to another, with the objective of stimulating the development and adoption of new products, processes and services that benefit society.
GOTT is being developed to provide specialist skills to help the public sector maximise the value of its knowledge and innovation assets, which include intellectual property, software, processes and data and are estimated to be worth £104 billion. BEIS said this will boost innovation to improve productivity in the public and private sectors and provide benefits to the economy.
It will run alongside two public sector funding schemes: a grant fund for pre-commercial proposals; and a managed fund for pre-seed and seed capital for schemes using public sector knowledge assets.
Campbell has most recently been director of Knowledge Transfer Ireland, and previously had roles including interim CEO of the Medical Research Council’s technology transfer company and as chair of the board of AUTM , the US based international association for technology transfer.
She commented: “I am delighted to take up this new role, helping to support the management of knowledge assets from across the public sector to deliver societal and economic impact.
“Here in the Government Office for Tech Transfer we will have a strong platform to build from thanks to the significant work and delivery from the existing Knowledge Assets Team and the engagement and support from key public sector stakeholders.”
The move derives from a plan set out in the Mackintosh Report of 2021 on the public sector’s use of knowledge and innovation assets.
Scouting and support
It said that GOTT will scout for new opportunities and support government departments and organisations on how to identify, protect and exploit their knowledge assets. This includes responsibility for taking forward the strategy.
It also identified a need to strengthen connection between public sector innovators, business, investors and academia; and level up support for regional public sector research institutions and innovation ecosystems outside of London, Oxford and Cambridge. The new unit will facilitate the operation of this network.