Professor Keith Hayward, Society Head of Research gave evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on 2 July 2012.
The subject was “Bridging the Valley of Death”, improving the commercialisation of research”. The session was held at the AMRC at Sheffield. The other witnesses were Rees Ward, CEO of ADS, Henner Wapenhans, Head of Technology Strategy, Rolls-Royce, Dr Ruth Mallors, Director Aerospace, Aviation and Defence KTN, and Sir John Chisholm, Engineering the Future.
The Committee is investigating the problems and barriers associated with the translation of new technological ideas and concepts into competitive, high value goods and services. This session focused primarily on aerospace and defence, although Sir John provided some general insights from a general engineering perspective.
The panel developed several key points including: the need to appreciate the complexity and timescale of the aerospace innovation cycle; the role of multiple, overlapping supply chains; the relationship between systems integrators and smaller companies; the importance of government as a customer, especially in the military domain; the need for ‘joined up’ government in the creation and implementation of research programmes; and that government had to recognise that in global aerospace industry, UK based firms had choices where they could invest – as a minimum requirement, UK government had to ensure that domestic support for R&D were no more stringent than that offered by competitors, or collaborating partners.
Read Professor Hayward’s incisive analysis of the aerospace industry every month in Aerospace International magazine.