Skip to content
Network of blue connecting lines forming a 3D triangular grid


Continue reading to find out more about the IRC projects…

In Progress: Innovation Infrastructure: Interconnections, Gaps and Opportunities

Innovation infrastructure research project to provide insights on the physical and non-physical support businesses require for the translation, adoption and diffusion of engineering biology. The project will seek to map the innovation infrastructure landscape for engineering biology, identify the interconnections between different aspects of infrastructure, the gaps in provision, the challenges, and the opportunities for enhancing commercialisation through better infrastructure support.

In Progress: Understanding knowledge / technology spillovers: Review and robustness assessment

This project focuses on the spillovers from publicly funded R&D and innovation activity. Spillovers – broadly defined as benefits which accrue to organisations other than the direct funding recipient – are a critical element of the rationale for public R&D and innovation investment, and form a significant element of the argumentation in related business cases and evaluation methodologies. Existing approaches to capturing spillovers in business case development and evaluation are limited, often based on pre-existing ratios. This project aims to ‘shift the dial’ on this approach by providing IUK and other partners with a more robust and nuanced approach to calculating spillovers drawing on existing evaluation and analytical evidence. The current project is designed to draw together and integrate existing evidence on spillovers. This may highlight empirical gaps which form the basis for future primary research.

In Progress:  Understanding and evaluating Interdisciplinary Research

UKRI has recently launched the first round of its Cross Research Council Responsive Mode Pilot Scheme ( This funding stream was designed to support:  Ideas that transcend, combine or significantly span disciplines.  That are not routinely funded through existing UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) responsive mode schemes.  That have the potential to be transformative for the participating disciplines or lead to the creation of new disciplines.   As multiple rounds of funding are anticipated under this scheme, there is an opportunity to use this round to evaluate the effectiveness of the call design and evaluation process on objectives related to interdisciplinarity. The focus of this work  is to support UKRI to better design and deliver the interdisciplinary funding competition and enhance processes to better review/assess interdisciplinary projects. The expectation is that the findings from the study of Round 1 projects will inform the Round 2 competition.   

In Progress: PhD entrepreneurship and commercialisation skills

This project brings several contextual strands together and serves a set of different objectives. First, on the UKRI side, the transition to collective talent funding has created a need to establish a common understanding and set of expectations across councils around the state of doctoral training, gaps, and areas for development. Several other projects proposed under the “PhD” umbrella get at various aspects of this through explorations of career pathways and alternative forms of provision. The PhD skillz project will focus on developing a common understanding of entrepreneurship and commercialisation skills in PhD training and tools for curriculum mapping, programme design, and delivery coordination. Entrepreneurship and commercialisation (skills) is of interest across funding councils. Innovate UK has been evolving plans with IRC to extend the logic and methodology of the Innovation Skills Framework (ISF) to some or all of the following areas: commercialisation, entrepreneurship, innovation leadership. IfATE was a partner in the original conceptualisation of the ISF and the Unit for Future Skills (UFS) has a continued interest in the development of additional skills frameworks. They are in the process of developing their own Skills Taxonomy and are wondering if there might be a “spine” of (non-technical) skills that an exploration of commercialisation and entrepreneurship skills might contribute to. This project envisions the co-development of a framework using a variation of the ISF methodology to identify key entrepreneurship and commercialisation skills. This framework will be designed, as the ISF was, for application by a broad range of stakeholders but will use PhD skillz as its first use case.