Research and Innovation play key role in ‘levelling up’ the UK according to UKRI CEO in SCI lecture
Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser
A more inclusive research and innovation system could help level up regional inequalities, nurture a ‘greener knowledge economy’ and help the UK’s ‘Build Back Better’ plan for growth according to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) CEO Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser. Her SCI talk public lecture was entitled ‘Fuelling the Future: science, society and the research and innovation system’.
During the event, Dame Ottoline highlighted a 2019 BEIS Public Attitudes to Science Survey which revealed that 78 per cent of people thought the UK must develop its science and technology sector to remain competitive. The same survey showed that over half (57 per cent) of those questioned thought there would be more work opportunities for the next generation.
“At present, we have quite an exclusive economy with significant wage inequality,” explained Dame Ottoline, “There is a significant gap in productivity among firms. R & I has a key role to play in building a knowledge economy that creates value and benefit across the UK.
“We are an incredible, strong nation when it comes to the creation of knowledge - and so it seems nonsensical not to use that world-leading capability to fuel the economy. The join-up we need to connect the full system is about much more than researchers and innovators. We will only get the benefits of diversity if the system is joined up and deeply engaged with all the communities involved.”
She noted SCI’s important role in the innovation ecosystem, describing SCI as a ‘networking organisation’ for the sector and a “good forum for the vision I have as UKRI starts to develop a new five year strategy.” As the place ‘Where Science meets Business,’ SCI links the academics, researchers, business leaders, lab technicians, students and librarians needed to turn today’s science into tomorrow’s societal solutions.
Harry Swan, SCI’s Chair of the Board of Trustees said:
“Dame Ottoline’s insights were inspiring and we are pleased she chose to outline her vision at SCI. Challenging times call for a different kind of thinking and I agree with her that the UK needs local empowerment and national focus. She cited the successful specialist ‘cluster’ approach behind Lincoln’s agricultural robotics activity and Dundee’s computer games sector.
“Similarly, SCI was established in 1881 as an innovation hub and still is, supporting clusters to adopt scientific models and develop them for societal good and the much needed ‘levelling up’ outlined by Dame Ottoline”.