The UK is to launch a new research programme investigating the ability of companies to adapt to the demands of a knowledge-based economy. The 'evolution of business knowledge' programme is a response to previous studies suggesting that many UK firms are failing to meet the challenges set by the shift to such an economy. 'Many UK firms have not yet woken up to what it means to compete in a knowledge-based environment,' said the programme's Director, Professor Harry Scarborough. Some firms are failing because they are locked into a low skill - low cost cycle. Other firms are struggling because their innovation and knowledge management activities are too narrowly based and fail to exploit the talents of their workforce.' The launch conference will be attended by the UK's Under Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, Lord Sainsbury.