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Sainsbury review demands ‘effective science and innovation system’

Former science minister Lord Sainsbury (pictured) has published his Review of the UK science and innovation system. He concludes the best way for the UK to compete, in an era of globalisation, is to move into high value goods, services and industries. However, he adds, an effective science and innovation system is vital to achieve this objective.

Former science minister Lord Sainsbury has published his Review of the UK science and innovation system. He concludes the best way for the UK to compete, in an era of globalisation, is to move into high value goods, services and industries. However, he adds, an effective science and innovation system is vital to achieve this objective.
Lord Sainsbury said: “The challenge is not to hide behind trade barriers or engage in a ‘race to the bottom’, but to invest in the future in areas such as knowledge generation, innovation, education, retraining and technological infrastructure.”
According to the report, the UK is well placed to take advantage of the new markets opened up by globalisation. Lord Sainsbury points to an ‘extraordinary record of scientific discovery’ and notes the amount of knowledge transfer from British universities has increased significantly. “We are beginning to see the growth of exciting high technology clusters around many of our world class research universities,” he observes.
Key recommendations in the review include:
• A new leadership role for the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), so that it works with the Regional Development Authorities (RDAs), Research Councils and government departments to coordinate public sector support for technological innovation.
• More support for ‘business facing universities; through the Higher Education Innovation Fund.
• A major campaign to enhance the teaching of science and technology, including raising the number of qualified STEM teachers, increasing the number of young people studying triple science, better careers advice and the establishment of a National Science Competition, and
• Increasing the focus of RDAs on science and innovation by encouraging them to put additional resources into TSB programmes, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and high technology clusters around world class research universities.

Author
Graham Pitcher

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