Voice of the Future 2018

By Adam Jellett, University of Bristol

How would politicians cope being quizzed by a room full of young scientists and engineers? That’s what I sought to find out when I travelled to Westminster to take part in Voice of the Future 2018. This event, organised by the Royal Society of Biology and in its seventh iteration, is unique in its reversing of a Select Committee meeting, where MPs hold experts and government ministers to account in various areas of policy. At Voice of the Future, it is the MPs who are questioned so that we, the scientific community, can gain a better understanding of the world of policy and their views on UK science. Can we change their opinions? Can they change ours?

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Building our Industrial Strategy: Investing in science, research and innovation

By Dr Kelly Davidge, Research and Development Manager at Kirkstall Ltd

Parliament pic

In the Government’s recently published Green Paper on building the UK’s industrial strategy, they recognise the importance of investment in science, research and innovation and have committed to a number of strategies to boost the UK innovation economy. Although the UK has three of the top 10 and 12 of the top 100 world universities, we lag behind other countries when it comes to investment in innovation through research and development (R&D):

  • 1.7% of UK GDP- gross domestic product- is invested in R&D funding, compared with the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average of 2.4%;
  • business investment in R&D is 1% in the UK, but 2% in Germany, 2.5% in Japan and over 3% in South Korea;
  • the UK produces a similar number of spin-off companies to the US but registers fewer patents;
  • none of our universities feature in the top 10 of Reuters Top 100: The World’s Most Innovative Universities – 2016, a list that ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and drive the global economy.

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