A boost in innovative performance across the UK was promised at yesterday's launch of the Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network.

A boost in innovative performance across the UK was promised at yesterday’s launch of the Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network, which plans to offer companies a single point of access to carefully selected experts and organisations. 

The launch of Chemistry Innovation signalled the end of the Chemistry Leadership Council, chaired by BASF chairman Barry Stickings. The Council’s work on innovation was a major force in developing the network, said Barry Gardiner, parliamentary undersecretary of state for competitiveness. 

’It has helped set the vision, strategic policy guidelines and national priorities for the future,’ said Gardiner. ’Having completed its remit, it has been agreed with Barry Stickings that the Council should now be formally wound up.’ 

Chemistry Innovation is one of 18 knowledge transfer networks, which form part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s technology programme. The programme is designed to provide funding for investment in science, engineering and technology, with active industrial participation. 

The networks are built on the Faraday model. Faraday partnerships - including Crystal, which focuses on green chemistry, and Insight, focusing on high throughput technologies - were widely considered successful in encouraging industry and academia to work together to bring new products and process to market. But the DTI recognised that no strategic overview was taken of the technology/business areas that the partnerships covered, and no attempt was made to work toward an integrated network-of-networks. The knowledge transfer networks are designed to address these shortcomings. 

’[Chemistry Innovation] can have a serious input to the national agenda on critical technologies for tomorrow,’ said Chemistry Innovation CEO, Carol Boyer. ’Applying them to deliver real industrial benefit to meet market demands in profitable but sustainable ways.’  Bea Perks