Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Government sets out science and innovation strategy

The Universities and Science Minister David Willetts will today set out a vision for an industrial strategy underpinned by technological advances.

In a major speech at the University of East Anglia, David Willetts will argue that Government has a creative role to play in working with researchers, universities and business to promote innovation and get the greatest possible economic value.

Mr Willetts is set to announce a £250 million investment in UK research institutes and £6.5 million to encourage businesses to explore new industrial applications for synthetic biology. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will also provide a grant of almost £5 million to Imperial College London, Kings College London, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Newcastle to establish platform technology for synthetic biology

The EPSRC will fund its first ever manufacturing fellowships – there will be four, each worth around £1 million.

He will also set out the action plan the Government has already implemented as part of its high-tech strategy, which will create incentives for businesses to invest in innovation and improve access to publicly funded research.

Mr Willetts will say:“ We set up a leadership council probably co-chaired by a BIS minister and a senior industry figure in which researchers, businesses perhaps regulators and major public purchasers come together.

“We use it to get them talking to each other frankly. Then we commission a trusted expert to prepare a technology road map which assesses where the relevant technologies are heading over the next five years or so, what publicly funded research is going in to drive it, and what business is likely to do. Just this exercise, with no increase in public funding, can transform behaviour.”

He will also call on the UK to take more pride in UK scientific achievement, which he believes holds great potential

“We are not detached and above the fray. Instead we are engaged, creative and constructive… We are backing the risk takers, and are willing to take a risk ourselves. As Government is an insurance pool we can take bigger risks than any other player.” He will add.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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