Nexus partners with CBI to unveil major new report

Advanced data analytics is opening up a ‘new frontier’ for business Research & Development, according to a new report from Nexus and the CBI.

Nexus Director, Dr Martin Stow, and Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, in Nexus

Nexus Director, Dr Martin Stow, and Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, in Nexus. May 2019

The report reveals that businesses are facing unprecedented advances in data-driven technologies and outlines the vital role universities play in helping harness the power of data.

The report will be the focus of discussion today (Tuesday 14 May 2019) at the special opening of Nexus, where the CBI and Leeds join forces to present the findings to senior UK business leaders, funders and regional stakeholders.

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation said: “The CBI/Nexus report shows the extraordinary opportunities for UK businesses to harness data for R&D, as well as the vital role universities have to play in supporting innovation and productivity.

“Unlocking this potential will supercharge R&D and that’s why we’re making a step-change at Leeds in how we work with business.

“This is what Nexus, our innovation hub, is all about – giving businesses seamless access to this support. There has never been a better time for universities and businesses to collaborate.”

One of the case studies featured in the report showcases how Leeds and Asda partnered to support the company's sustainability strategy.

Working with the Consumer Data Research Centre, Asda gained greater insight into customers’ attitudes and purchasing behaviours to understand and tackle food waste.

Citing the Government’s aim for R&D investment to reach 2.4% of GDP by 2027, the CBI make a series of recommendations to support businesses in harnessing data.

It calls on the Government to spur R&D growth, suggesting vital research and development spending is more than two decades behind the UK’s growth target.

In the report – The Changing Nature of R&D – the CBI calls on the Government to:

  • act on its commitment to delivering the 2.4% target by publishing a comprehensive roadmap and setting out a long-term trajectory for government R&D expenditure,
  • make it easier for businesses to navigate innovation support: government should create a ‘digital one stop shop’ that clearly outlines and signposts the range of innovation support businesses can access,
  • introduce new support for businesses to develop the capacities they need to understand and unlock value from their data; and
  • deliver the world’s most competitive R&D tax credit by ensuring that it recognises the growing importance of data-driven R&D.

The report outlines how businesses are unsure of the value of data and how to exploit it, highlighting how companies are currently capturing only a fraction of the potential value from data and analytics.

Only 4% of companies report having the right people, tools and data to be able to draw meaningful insights from this information.

Nexus Director, Dr Martin Stow, added: “We can help unlock the potential of data, to help businesses make better use of their data, access new data, or upskill the workforce to increase data analytic capability.

“The Nexus community is a thriving example of the benefits of predictive analytics and working in collaboration. Companies such as Vet AI, which is set to overhaul the pet healthcare industry; Thought Beanie, which uses brainwave monitoring to enhance sleep and sporting performance, and Scaled Insights, which is revolutionising training across the NHS, all understand the power of big data and human behaviour insights in their business models.

“Working closely with Leeds’ world-class research teams and resources means they can realise the tremendous value of R&D in translating their ideas into market success.

“As the CBI report confirms, ground-breaking ideas, inventions and products are today about pools of talent, shared expertise and collaboration, and Nexus is aimed at accelerating and de-risking such innovation, to maximise commercial returns.”

Beckie Hart, CBI Yorkshire and Humber Regional Director, said: “Businesses are sitting on a mountain of valuable data but many are grappling with what steps to take to exploit its value. Striking up partnerships with universities is one way to bring in talent, make use of state-of-the-art facilities and conduct cutting-edge research.

“It’s encouraging to see this region leading the way with the opening of Nexus. Setting up more collaborative initiatives will mean the UK can be at the forefront of harnessing the latest trends in innovation and remain a great place to do business.”

Read further case studies about our work with business. 

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