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The Innovation Caucus: Impacting policy making from the grassroots to largescale enterprise

Innovate UK (IUK) is the UK’s national innovation agency, supporting business-led innovation and enterprise in the UK. Since the Innovation Caucus was launched, IUK and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have been our stakeholders, funding our work to provide incisive social science insights within the tight timeframes needed by IUK policy makers. The Innovation Caucus is unique in that it is able to draw on the expertise of its large network of social scientists to address the needs of the policy makers.

Our focussed, accessible research reports have provided up to the moment, fresh perspectives on a range of challenging questions for innovation and enterprise in the UK. We prioritise a swift research response to the needs of policy makers, calling on our extensive network of social science academics to assist us in producing reports on a range of challenging questions faced by policy makers in the UK innovation and enterprise landscape. Recent reports for our stakeholders include:

  • An analysis of healthy ageing in the UK
  • The role of Further Education Colleges in innovation and enterprise in the UK
  • The development of a sustainability framework for use by Innovate UK in its funding calls
  • Engaging SMEs in innovation for the foundation industries in the UK
  • The potential for commercialising bioscience research in the UK
  • Understanding cluster growth potential in the UK
  • A series of 4 reports on the impact of COVID 19 on UK businesses based on surveys taken between 2020-2021.

These reports are available to download on the Resources page of our website.

Feedback from our stakeholders at every stage has been invaluable to us, ensuring that our work has impact for government policy making that directly affects innovation and enterprise from the grassroots to large scale businesses in the UK. Here is what our stakeholders say:


“Most recently, we have worked with the Innovation Caucus to better understand our applicants and beneficiaries. The findings are feeding into our new No Limits mission.”
Dr Emily Nott, Head of Diversity and Inclusion Programmes, Innovate UK


“Our work with the Innovation Caucus and ERC provided valuable insights to the role Catapults have contributed to both business performance and their contribution to the Innovation ecosystem.”
Dr Geeta Nathan, Deputy Director of Innovation Ecosystem Strategy, Innovate UK


“Evidence from the Innovation Caucus and ERC was an important aspect in developing the business case for future public investments in the Catapults.”
Dr Dave Wilkes, Director of Innovation Ecosystem, Innovate UK


“The collaboration with the Innovation Caucus on defining the skills framework for innovation is an essential component for developing UK talent.”
Debbie Johnson, Head of Innovation, Talent and Skills, Innovate UK


“We have been collaborating with the Innovation Caucus and Innovate UK to explore how we can engage and support Further Education Colleges to strengthen the UK innovation ecosystem.”
Daniel Sandford Smith, Director Education Programmes, Gatsby Charitable Foundation


“We have worked with the Innovation Caucus on several research projects. This research has helped to build new evidence and insights that have informed our work on EDI programmes.”
Katy Petherick, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Change Manager, Innovate UK


“Working with the Innovation Caucus has given us the evidence about the breadth of bioscience innovation supported by BBSRC, and highlights the need to ensure that the value of bioscience is not lost in translation.”
Nick Bassett, Associate Director, Innovation, Biological Technology and Biological Sciences Research Council


The Innovation Caucus also offers advice to academics and social scientists about how to increase the impact of their research. The recent Innovation Caucus book How To Engage Policy Makers with your Research is a good example of the Innovation Caucus’ outreach work to advise and support early career researchers and strengthen the links between social science academics and policy makers. This multi-authored book, published in July 2022, is designed as a resource for academics to bring their research into focus for policy makers, filling a gap that many researchers acknowledge exists in HE of supporting academics to promote the real-world impact of their research, and translate this into commercial opportunities.

The Innovation Caucus continues its work to promote communication between social scientists and policy makers: in our upcoming Strategic Engagement Series, we will be offering to social scientists a series of masterclasses hosted by experts, focussed on how to engage policy makers with academic research. More details about the Strategic Engagement Series will be shared through our Twitter account in the coming weeks. Alternatively, please contact to enquire about signing up for the masterclasses.