In­no­va­ton chief quits as shake-up looms

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Han­nah Boland

THE head of the UK’s na­tional in­no­va­tion agency is to step down af­ter com­plain­ing about the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s de­clin­ing in­flu­ence.

Ian Camp­bell has been work­ing at state or­gan­i­sa­tion In­no­vate UK for four years and is un­der­stood to be leav­ing for a role in life sciences.

How­ever, no firm date has yet been set for his de­par­ture.

In­no­vate UK is re­spon­si­ble for fund­ing re­search and devel­op­ment projects, and is part of the UK Re­search & In­no­va­tion quango.

Dr Camp­bell’s de­par­ture will co­in­cide with the re­tire­ment of Sir Mark Wal­port, the UKRI boss, who last year said he would be leav­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion at some point in 2020. It comes as min­is­ters seek to shake up tax­payer sup­port for in­no­va­tion. Do­minic Cum­mings, the Prime Min­is­ter’s chief ad­viser, has been scathing about civil ser­vants’ ef­forts to fos­ter new tech­nol­ogy in the past. He is push­ing through the cre­ation of a new or­gan­i­sa­tion mod­elled on the US Ad­vanced Re­search Projects Agency.

That Amer­i­can or­gan­i­sa­tion de­vel­ops mil­i­tary sys­tems that can later be adapted for other uses by the pri­vate sec­tor.

Dr Camp­bell said: “His­tor­i­cally, I’ve been in­volved in health and life sciences, and when a re­ally ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity pre­sented it­self, I had to think very se­ri­ously be­fore de­cid­ing it was the right thing for me to do in this stage of my ca­reer.”

Writ­ing for The Daily Tele­graph last week, Dr Camp­bell warned against “im­plic­itly jet­ti­son­ing some of the in­sti­tu­tions so re­cently cre­ated”.

He also said that Mr Cum­mings’ new agency should be built and in­te­grated into a rein­vig­o­rated ver­sion of In­no­vate UK.

A US mil­i­tary agency has in­spired min­is­ters

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