UK SMEs Should Have Free Access to Universities’ Tax-Payer-Funded Intellectual Property, Says IET PresidentOctober 5, 2012 – 3:54 pm
The open access movement in Britain and elsewhere has called for free access to university research that has been funded by taxpayers. This week, the new President of The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) took this notion further by arguing that UK universities should provide free access to its intellectual property, infrastructure and facilities to UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Since the public have already funded the creation of the IP, they should not have to pay twice, he said in his inaugural speech at IET London.
Professor Andy Hopper, head of Cambridge University’s Computer Laboratory, is a serial entrepreneur who has cofounded over 12 startups. During his inaugural speech, he focused on the importance of SMEs in the UK economy and how a closer relationship between universities and companies can spur economic growth. He also offered his perspective on innovation.
Hopper also said that engineering is still a undervalued profession in the UK. He criticised the UK government for not having any engineers in the Cabinet and poor representation across Parliament. The UK government should also appoint a chief engineering and technology adviser to the government – similar to the chief technology officer in the US government, he argued.
Do you agree that universities have an obligation to share their intellectual property, as well as infrastructure and facilities, (if funded by taxpayers) with SMEs? Do you have other suggestions for how to increase collaboration between business and universities? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.