From small businesses to global corporations, innovation is recognised as central to economic growth. However, if innovation-led growth is to thrive there is a need to build on insights about the innovation ecosystem in the UK and beyond.
Understanding innovation has been a long-standing focus of social science researchers across a broad range of disciplines. Social science research has a strong pedigree in generating international insights into innovation, ranging in focus from business models to business environments and regulation to societal acceptance.
To enhance the impact of social science research the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has jointly funded a new initiative with Innovate UK to bring our communities closer together and promote collaboration. The recently established Innovation Caucus is a multidisciplinary team of researchers, who are working to ensure social science research informs the strategy and practice of Innovate UK.
Led by Prof Tim Vorley and Dr Chay Brooks of the Sheffield University Management School, the Innovation Caucus aims to bridge the knowledge gap by providing Innovate UK strategists, analysts and technologists with research-based insights about the innovation process and the innovation ecosystem.
Innovate UK exists to fund, support and connect innovative businesses ideas, across a range of sectors and its remit is UK wide. Better understanding innovation as well as the economic and societal contexts in which it occurs is crucial to realising innovation-led growth.
The strength of the social science research base in the UK represents an important asset in understanding what works in terms of innovation and why. The Innovation Caucus will serve as an interface to support Innovate UK to engage with social science researchers, as well as responding to thematic and process-related questions.
The aim is ultimately to increase the impact of innovation research and foster knowledge exchange that enhances Innovate UK in their support of innovation across the UK.