Our plan for growth: science and innovation

  • Innovation Team profile
    Innovation Team
    29 January 2016 - updated 2 years ago
    Total votes: 0
Author(s): 
British Minister of State for Universities, Science and Citi
Year of publication: 
2014
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Scientific endeavour is inherently worthwhile. It expands the frontier of human understanding.Whether exploring the first moments of the universe, or the deep structure of matter, or thepower of genetic code, Britain will continue to take the lead in pursuit of the fundamental scientific challenges of our time.Science and innovation are also at the heart of our long term economic plan. The UK’s science base is extraordinary – our cutting edge research base is world leading, our universities areworld-class, we develop and attract the world’s brightest minds and we are second in the world when ranked by Nobel prizes. Science is one of our clear comparative advantages in the globalrace. However, we have to build on these advantages. The UK has historically invested less in researchand development than our competitor nations. Addressing this crucial challenge requires both public and private sector commitment as we continue the broader work of economic recovery and rebalancing. Businesses that invest in research and other forms of innovation have higherproductivity, create high quality jobs and are more likely to export. Our mission is to establish the UK as a world-leading knowledge economy.The UK’s ability to capitalise on its cutting edge science base will be critical to our future prosperity and societal wellbeing. There are big opportunities (such as the burgeoning potentialof genomics) but also big challenges (such as around antimicrobial resistance). We must rise to these challenges by supporting innovation and the transformation of our cutting edge science into new products and services. This will create new jobs, innovative businesses and allow the UK to take the lead in new markets.That is why we have prioritised science and innovation spending in difficult times. But for the UK to stay ahead, we must plan ahead. So we are committing £5.9 billion capital to support scientific excellence out to 2021: the most long-term commitment to science capital in decades.And that is why we are strengthening our partnerships between the public and private sector, epitomised by the Industrial Strategy and the 8 Great Technologies.We are making a conscious choice of priorities for the UK, building on our core strengths. So excellence is at the heart of this strategy. So too are the core principles which will help meet the challenges ahead – agility; collaboration; the importance of place and of openness.We therefore commit a total of £2.9 billion to fund large scale investments in science. Following the science capital consultation, this grand challenges fund will be used to deliver a first wave of projects worth a total of £800 million. We are funding new facilities in advanced materials centred in Manchester, a new high performance computer collaboration with IBM at the Hartree Centre, and we are taking the lead in the next European Rover mission to Mars. These are justthree examples where we are backing our priorities to stay at the cutting edge of world science.We must also recognise the vital role that commercialisation of science and new technologies play in our future growth. We will continue to provide businesses with the environment andinfrastructure necessary to generate large scale innovation in areas where there are higher risks and wider benefits. The investment required to keep us at the forefront globally must be a Government priority, but it must also be a priority for our businesses. So we will expand our network of elite technology and innovation centres with two more Catapult centres in Energy Systems and Precision Medicine next year. We are also providing over £60 million to our established High Value Manufacturing Catapult centre and creating a £28 million National Formulation Centre. We will continue to expand the network gradually as the fiscal position improves. And we are renewing our efforts to help high growth businesses access finance by boosting our flagship British Business Bank with additional funding.Of course, our science and innovation strategy can only be as good as the people that it can attract, educate, train and retain. That is why we are investing across the skills pipeline, fromprimary school to university. In particular, we are announcing bold new support for postgraduates in order to address the next frontier in higher level skills.But the government cannot do this alone. Science and innovation is the result of partnerships with business, with charities, individuals, and with our global collaborators. This strategy will only be effective if all of these partners work individually and collectively to deliver its common aims. We welcome the many contributions that these partners have made through the consultation and wider engagement, and we look forward to working with you to deliver thisstrategy together.