In early November, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) convened representatives of each of the newly-minted third wave of Science and Innovation Audits. The gathering was an opportunity for the new consortia to meet their contemporaries, learn from their predecessors and explore the possibilities opened up by the Audit process. The Hub was invited to be present, to offer its services to these fresh collectives.
The Third Wave consortia: each one unique, but well-connected
To describe the new consortia as bright-eyed with wonderment might be overstating matters somewhat; but there was a definite energy in the room as, even at this early stage, representatives were able to share their experiences of assembling their consortia and producing their expressions of interest. For every commonality they shared – the zeal with which they pursued their corporate partners, for example, or the academic rigour underpinning their hypotheses – there were as many unique distinctions, from governance structures to sectoral loci.
In fact one consistency across the piece was the bespoke nature of each planned Audit, and the importance of assembling an architecture to serve its specific needs. But there were some universal lessons to be drawn from previous Waves. Sue Littlemore of Enterprise M3, lead for the Innovation South consortium so successfully steered through Wave Two, outlined what new participants could expect – and how they could best maximise the impact of their Audit process.
Amongst other insights, Sue set out the importance of allowing enough time, and committing enough resource, to fully explore the Audits potential; the need to make the most of the available datasets – and to let them guide the ratification of your hypotheses, rather than the other way around; and to commit to building cohesion between consortium members.
Working with a strong legacy
Sue also rightly noted that a successful Science and Innovation Audit lives in the way it is animated after the document is produced and the glow of its announcement fades, and Innovation South set a good example – already committing to a raft of activity to make good on the promise of their published document.
The Hub has already supported four of the third wave Audits, and has written to each offering to discuss how best we can augment their deliberations – whether that be through sharing of data and analysis to complement their existing provision, dissemination of best practice or more strategic inputs.
We look forward to working with each of them at their discretion to further the place-based intelligence matrix of which the Hub and the Audits form key parts. And as, beyond this wave, we start to see a fuller picture of interlocking innovation assets and opportunities across the country, we are excited to lend our voice and capacity to the promotion of new partnerships, projects and strategies both within and without consortium boundaries.
Get in touch
If you would like more information on the Hub’s support for the Third Wave SIAs, or information on how we can provide support for other growth and innovation projects, please get in touch.