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UK Atomic Energy Authority

Delivering a Strategic Roadmap for UK Public Sector Research Establishment


Name: UK Atomic Energy Authority - Culham Division.

Sector: Energy


Project Description

In July 2004 UKAEA Culham used Consultants Online for a project to improve its knowledge transfer programme. Objectives were to:

  • Identify current best practice both in the Public Sector Research Establishments and external organisations.
  • Align the organisation to ensure the success of the “Innovation to Industry” programme.
  • Identify any pitfalls and suggest ways to manage areas of concern.

Consultants Online’s unique experience in combining innovative research techniques with best practice audit solutions gave UKAEA an agenda for change.

A three month plan was assembled which included:

  • Establishing a vision and strategy with stakeholders.
  • A divisional survey to build a knowledge base of staff with the willingness, skills and expertise to participate in industry related projects.
  • Identify any obstacles to Commercialisation.  

Project Results: 

  • Full commitment of the research staff and technicians
  • Alignment with other Public Sector technolgy transfer policy.
  • An incentive and reward structure for inventors.
  • Benchmarking report to compare the industry outreach practices and policies.
  • Policy initiatives that address issues in the areas of management direction, communication and reward structures.
  • Help for managers to address the difficulties of organisational change.

“Consultants Online identified the key hurdles for UKAEA and made several recommendations on how we could utilise our resources more effectively to help businesses in the private sector”
                                   Miriam Mason, Technology Transfer Manager

Project Skills:

  • Empathy with research staff.
  • Identification of key issues and application of best practice solutions.
  • Evaluation of likely impact on employee committment.



Tools and Techniques Used - The 7-S Model

The 7-S Model is a valuable tool to help an organisation change and to provide direction. it can be used to determine the current state of each element and to compare this with the ideal state. By looking at how to fill the gap it is possible to develop action plans to achieve the intended state.

Change Management Model 


At Culham we achieved a fit between these seven elements. It was important to remember that as one element changes this will affect all the others. For example, a change in HR-systems such as rewards and incentives for new inventions has an impact on organisational culture (management style) and affects structures, processes, and also the characteristic competences of the organisation.

We made sure the team at Culham focused their efforts on the  soft S’s, Skills, Staff, Style and Shared Values as well as the Hard Ss - Strategy, Structure and Systems. The soft factors can make or break a successful change process, since new structures and strategies are difficult to build upon inappropriate cultures and values.

The soft Ss were highly determined by the people who work at Culham. It is much more difficult to plan or to influence the characteristics of the soft elements. Although the soft factors are below the surface, they can have a great impact of the hard Structures, Strategies and Systems of the organisation.




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