Researchers from Oxford Brookes to play key role in new £7m national innovation and research body

Professor Tim Vorley
Professor Tim Vorley

A new network which aims to establish itself as a world-leading centre of excellence for innovation and research policy will bring together academics from universities across the UK led by Oxford Brookes.

Professor Tim Vorley, the University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Oxford Brookes Business School will lead the new Innovation and Research Caucus (IRC) with Professor Stephen Roper, Professor of Enterprise at Warwick Business School.

UKRI has invested £7m to create the IRC. Professor Vorley said: “I am delighted to be co-directing this flagship investment with Professor Roper, which brings together leading researchers from Oxford Brookes, Warwick, Manchester, Birkbeck and Cambridge universities.

“The IRC will adopt an interdisciplinary approach and convene a network of academics from across the UK to deliver applied and actionable insights on research and innovation policy development, implementation and evaluation for UKRI.”

Building on a successful approach

From 2007 until June 2023, the Economic and Social Research Council and Innovate UK co-funded the Innovation Caucus led by Professor Vorley. The caucus developed into a valuable asset, providing expert advice and evidence to support UKRI to better understand and support sustainable, innovation-led growth.

The IRC has three co-investigators based at Oxford Brookes Business School; Dr Syahirah Abdul Rahman, Dr Lauren Tuckerman and Dr Jen Nelles. In addition there will be four postdoctoral researchers based at Oxford Brookes, working with colleagues across the wider network. 

It demonstrated how social sciences can make an even greater contribution to UKRI’s evidence needs and has helped the social science community understand joint areas of evidence needs.

The IRC will build on this framework, with greater funding and a broader remit encompassing both innovation and research funding. 

Over the next three years, the IRC will increase the use of robust evidence and insights in UKRI's strategies and investments.

This will support UKRI's significant contribution to the goals of the Science and Technology Framework, and help deliver greater societal and economic benefits from research and innovation.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, UKRI chief executive, said: “UKRI needs access to a robust and actionable evidence base. It also needs to bring together people with different skill sets and experience, who can work with UKRI to understand and implement the changes needed to build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system which delivers for citizens across the UK.

“The IRC will have a vital role to play in providing powerful insights into what works, where and why. I look forward to working with the Caucus to create and use those insights to optimise the support we provide to the UK's outstanding research and innovation system."

The IRC is funded by UKRI via the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Innovate UK. Innovate UK  is a government scheme that supports projects and enterprises that will have a positive impact on society.