Q&A with Luke Hamm, CEO of R&D and IP specialist GovGrant

30 June 2021 Consultancy.uk 5 min. read
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Luke Hamm is the CEO of GovGrant, a consultancy specialised in research & innovation and innovation subsidies. He discusses the importance of R&D as a driver for post-pandemic recovery, the state of play in the innovation space and how GovGrant helps its clients unlock the value of R&D opportunities. 

Investment in R&D is often seen as a long-term play, but can it also play a part in the UK's recovery post-Covid?

Yes, absolutely. In the weeks, months and years to come, research and development (R&D) and the commercialisation of intellectual property (IP) will be key in promoting sustainable business and economic growth. By investing in these areas, businesses can immediately open up a source of funding through government initiatives, like the R&D tax credit schemes and Patent Box, that provide businesses with incentives for R&D activity.

Ultimately, these schemes help businesses to better commercialise their IP so that it adds value to their business, brings in investment and ensures innovation takes place within the UK’s border, today. This is the key to our economic recovery and long-term prosperity, both as we start to recover from Covid-19 and break away from the EU

Luke Hamm is the CEO of GovGrant

Are there any key sectors that will play a crucial role if we are to get the UK economy – and society as a whole – back on its feet quickly?

Fintech stands out as one of the major players here. Fintech businesses are, by nature, leaders in innovative activity and the Kalifa Review has highlighted the opportunities within fintech to create highly skilled jobs, boost trade and keep the UK firmly in competition with other financial hubs.

However, to do so, the industry needs to start capitalising on its intellectual property. Fintechs need to use their patents for more than just protection and start seeing them for what they are – a chance to improve margin, sell more, and engage better with potential clients.  

The same applies for manufacturing and life science industries which already play a significant role in the UK economy and are naturally rich in intellectual property. Knowing how to make the most of R&D will be key to the continued success of these sectors. 

How will collaboration between sectors and industries play a part in driving the innovation agenda forward?

Supporting a collaborative relationship between sectors and industries is vital for driving innovation. We only have to look to the Government’s pandemic response to see that redefining how the public and private sectors engage can better support processes going forward. 

For example, the Government used the British Business Bank to deploy its loan schemes and helped fast-track the vaccine approval process. The ability of the government to learn from these experiences and demonstrate a willingness to reform the private-public sector relationship will be crucial for accelerating innovation. 

Similarly, collaboration across sectors can drive the innovation agenda more broadly. If a business wants to tap into the value of their innovative processes and intellectual property, they may go to a solicitor to pursue a patent. But not all solicitors have niche commercial expertise, and third-party consultants can help advise on the commercialisation of intellectual property and empower legal professionals to help their clients unlock the most from their patents. 

This is the type of collaboration which will help businesses to achieve the most from their innovations. 

Do companies and consultants have the right access to other specialists who can help drive better outcomes?

Having access to the right technical specialist is the key to unlocking the full potential of R&D and innovation. Businesses often don’t recognise their operations as innovative, so empowering them to realise their potential is vital. That is essentially what third party consultants do. 

The R&D ecosystem is complex, so getting support from the right experts is so important. This means not only having a relationship with legal professionals and accountants, but having relationships with technical specialists that know your business inside out. 

What are GovGrant’s key ambitions over the next couple of years?

At GovGrant, we recognise the importance and value of R&D and intellectual property for economic prosperity and the success of individual businesses. Our focus is to offer clients the maximum potential benefit from R&D in their business by helping them to identify innovation within their operations and access the government tax incentives available to them.

Because of this, our ambitions for the next two years are simple – to help more businesses unlock the value of R&D and to influence policy to better reward innovation in the UK.

We also need to change the conversation around patents. Too many businesses are not seeing patents for what they are – an opportunity to add commercial value to the business. But patents are invaluable in helping draw investment from other sources as well as opening up another source of government funding with the Patent Box scheme. Our aim to bring this into the process much earlier, expanding the initial R&D conversation to include Patent Box and helping clients get the best value possible from their R&D.