Hub4NGI D2.1 deliverable advocates Innovation Support as the process of helping applied research output that addressed some real-world problems turnaround into a product or service to the needs of some users.
Referencing Nurse [Nurse 2015] throughout, the deliverable presents the process of innovation as a journey from pure research to applied research and finally to a finished product. Applied research aims at achieving specific outcomes and is directed towards addressing real world problems. The pre-requisite therefore to applied research are understanding of the needs of the target user community together with a sufficiently well-developed knowledge base of the subject area which is strengthened by the pure (or discovery) research. Once the applied research results in proving the utility of a technology for a particular application, thereafter innovation is materialized, as results are developed into a marketable product or service and tested in real world conditions. Following figure demonstrates the interpreted innovation lifecycle from Nurse [Nurse 2015].
As also evident from the above innovation lifecycle, the research process does not have to always follow a liner direction from research to applied research and finally to product. Knowledge can be acquired from applied research and give clues to further discovery research.
The deliverable also investigates that there is a gap between applied research outputs and product and service development due to the traditional ways the two activities are funded. Applied research is often funded by public money (e.g. EC or national grants), and product development is often funded by private money (e.g. venture capital for entrepreneurs). This gap is addressed by so called Innovation Agencies. Glennie & Bound describe 4 major types of innovation agencies after surveying and analysing 10 national Innovation Agencies, e.g. Innovate UK, DARPA (USA) and Tekes (Finland): (i) Market and System Fixer (fix failings in the market that mean innovations are not getting through), (ii) Industry Builders (developing and nurturing a particular industry sector), (iii) Mission Drivers (create innovation to solve recognised problems), (iv) System Optimiser (mixing the three above strategy types).
The deliverable recommends that innovation support be guided by the approaches taken by national Innovation Agencies, as these have proven track record in generating opportunity that has transferred into viable and sustainable businesses, creating strong bodies of expertise and strengthening their respective national economies.
[Nurse 2015] Nurse, Paul. "Ensuring a successful UK research endeavour." A Review of the UK Research Councils, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, UK Government (2015).