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A General Framework for Innovation and Commercialisation Infrastructure for Emerging Technologies

January 12, 2024

IRC Report 002



Dr Halima Jibril

Professor Stephen Roper

Professor Raquel Ortega-Argiles


While the UK is widely recognised as having world-class research capabilities across a range of emerging technologies, our capacity for effective commercialisation has often been questioned. This raises the question of what types of factors may be restricting or limiting effective commercialisation in the UK. The objective of this project is to develop a framework for understanding the physical and non-physical infrastructure required for the commercialisation of emerging and transformational technologies and which may guide future investment priorities. As such the focus is on domestic infrastructure rather than international assets. Infrastructure which supports commercialisation includes both physical assets and ‘soft’ infrastructure. Soft infrastructure includes institutions and organisations that provide resources, services and networks which support the innovation ecosystem. Both physical and soft infrastructure can support different elements of the commercialisation process. Some infrastructure assets may also have multiple elements spanning both hard and soft elements and supporting a range of elements of the commercialisation process. It will be important to allow for this in any infrastructure mapping.

Many infrastructure assets are focused on specific elements of the research, translation and commercialisation value chain, and we can differentiate between:

• Research infrastructure.

• Translation and Demonstration – facilities and assets that enable the industrial translation of research and the development and demonstration of new products, services and processes, focused on innovation at low and medium Technology Readiness Levels (TRL).

• Commercialisation and Scale-up infrastructure – facilities and assets that enable the delivery to market and scaling up of new products, services or processes. Here, the primary focus is on innovations at high TRLs and facilities that support industrial-scale production.

An illustrative infrastructure mapping for Engineering Biology suggests that both physical and soft infrastructure can support different elements of the commercialisation process, and that many organisations span elements of the commercialisation value chain. Each infrastructure organisation can then be identified as:

(a) Physical or soft infrastructure (or both)

(b) Supporting research, translation and demonstration, commercialisation and scale up, or a combination of these; and

(c) Identifying the system functions to which it contributes, e.g., entrepreneurial activity or resource mobilisation.

We outline a process for applying the infrastructure framework to emerging technology sectors and identifying gaps and potential investment opportunities.

A full report is available via the download section of this page.


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