industry

Extreme prospects

High gold prices are making it worthwhile to look for gold in some unusual places.

Demand has never been higher, but nearly all the easy gold has already been mined. So, to maintain production, mining companies are turning to more difficult sources that would have been left in the ground if gold prices had been lower. From the depths of TauTona in the South African veldt, all the way up to Pierina in the Peruvian Andes, 4,100 metres above sea level, miners are digging deeper than ever before, going to more remote locations and politically volatile regions. Read more in Nature.

BIS axes annual survey of industry R&D

Last one shows UK corporate spending holds up in recession.

The government will no longer produce its annual R&D Scoreboard, which analyses R&D spending among the top 1,000 UK and top 1,000 global corporate investors in R&D. The latest edition, which analyses corporate R&D spending in 2009, will be the last.

“While this useful tool has helped us to track progress on investment, both domestically and overseas, today’s companies better understand the importance of R&D to their long-term success. At the same time, unprecedented financial pressures have made it necessary to reduce public spending,” science minister David Willetts wrote in the foreword to the report. Read more in Research Fortnight.

Is industry walking away from academia?

Recession-hit companies scale back university liaison offices.

Universities could find it more difficult to find industry research partners as hi-tech companies look to scale back or close their academic liaison departments in the wake of the financial crisis.

The defence technology company QinetiQ, spun out of the government’s Defence Evaluation and Research Agency in 2001, has closed its central academic liaison department. And within the past few months, the mobile telecoms company Vodaphone has moved its academic cooperation work into a single office in Germany. Previously, academic liaison was handled by a team scattered across different countries including Germany, the UK and Spain. Read more in Research Fortnight.

Spinning out of control?

Considering cashing in on your research? Here’s what not to do…

It’s natural when you have discovered something to want to see it developed into new and useful products – either by licensing your intellectual property (IP) to industry or creating a spinout company to develop the product yourself.

But despite the push by governments around the world to promote technology transfer, many universities still do not have the expertise or resources to exploit the discoveries of their academics effectively. Read more in Chemistry World.