Getting research produced by universities translated into new products and services has been an ongoing challenge for academia, industry and indeed government for some time now. There has been an ongoing sense that it’s a pipeline that is not altogether functioning as it might do.
A recent report from the Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, and the Wellcome Trust outlines a series of commitments to ensure that translation is recognized and celebrated as an integral part of academic research.
“The UK has a long history of excellence in research. To ensure our thriving knowledge economy results in the widest possible benefit to society we need to do more to continue to strengthen our translation system. Together we wish to increase the ease with which great ideas, discoveries and inventions can be transformed to generate real benefits for society and the economy,” they say.
The recommendations include things such as boosting recognition of translation, encouraging the movement of people between academia and industry, and investing in services to aid translation. It’s a pool of work that has already been started.
For instance, the Wellcome Trust place a huge emphasis on building better links between science, technology and innovation. They’ve established the Pilot Awards to support translation of research into products, and is also supporting researchers with patent costs that arise from the awards.
“Medical science has the potential to yield great benefits for society, but this can only happen if we can move discoveries from the lab to the clinic in a timely and effective manner. The pledge being made today, to work together to take practical steps to improve translation in the UK, will play an important role,” the authors say.