SCI's Manifesto: a blueprint to elevate UK science, industry and economic prosperity

14 August 2023 | Simon Frost

SCI CEO Sharon Todd warns of economic stagnation and urges party leaders to adopt SCI’s Industrial Science & Innovation Manifesto, released today.

The UK's status as a science superpower is under threat due to a lack of investment and strategic policy failures over numerous decades. SCI today unveils its Manifesto for an Industrial Science & Innovation Strategy, urging party leaders to adopt a comprehensive and detailed approach to drive growth and secure the nation's economic future.

The manifesto presents a multifaceted strategy aimed at fostering every stage of the scientific product lifecycle – from research and development (R&D) to large-scale production. Among the key proposals is the implementation of a legal obligation for ministers to allocate 0.6% of GDP to R&D – a move intended to elevate the UK's R&D spending closer to the OECD average of 0.46%. The manifesto also advocates for a requirement that pension schemes invest in a dedicated ‘superfund’ for R&D-intensive industries, a measure designed to stimulate investment in these critical sectors.

SCI's Manifesto for An Industrial Science and Innovation Strategy
Download SCI's Manifesto for an Industrial Science & Innovation Strategy here.

SCI recently issued a stark warning that the UK is falling behind in the race to attract investment for economic growth and innovation. In a bid to reverse this trend and ensure the UK remains a competitive hub for scientific advancements, SCI’s CEO, Sharon Todd, emphasises the urgent need for transformative action, stating, ‘This is one of the most pivotal points in the UK’s treasured science and industrial history. If we stand still, our economy will be blown away by international rivals determined to revolutionise their science and industrial base.

‘If we act, we might just have enough time to catch up, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and boosting the economy by hundreds of billions of pounds.’

Sharon Todd (SCI's Manifesto for An Industrial Science and Innovation Strategy)

Furthermore, the Manifesto calls for tailored business incentives and tax credits to promote the establishment of large-scale production facilities. These facilities not only create employment opportunities but also attract more investment into science commercialisation and contribute to the nation's net zero targets.

The urgency of implementing these policies is underscored by research commissioned by SCI and conducted by LEK Consulting in July. This research estimates that without a focused industrial strategy, the UK stands to lose a staggering £230 billion in economic growth and approximately 240,000 jobs in life sciences and clean tech sectors alone by 2030.

Industrial Strategy: Scaling and Commercializing UK Science and Technology
The Manifesto follows the LEK report commissioned my SCI last month, UK Industrial Strategy: Scaling and Commercializing UK Science and Technology, which you can download here.

SCI's Manifesto places cross-party cooperation at the forefront of its strategy. With the intention of providing businesses with the certainty they need to invest in the long term, the Manifesto asserts the importance of bipartisan agreement on adopting these policies. Such consensus would ensure that the nation's scientific advancements are nurtured, scaled up, and produced within the UK, preventing the continued leakage of revenue and jobs to international competitors.

The proposed policies also include the establishment of a Science & Growth Innovation Council, comprising influential business leaders within the scientific community. This council would maintain a direct line of communication with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, ensuring the alignment of scientific and economic agendas.

Liam Condon (SCI's Manifesto for An Industrial Science and Innovation Strategy)

Liam Condon, CEO of SCI Corporate Partner Johnson Matthey, lauded the manifesto's approach to addressing climate change and fostering innovation, stating, ‘Addressing climate change by accelerating the net zero transition requires both innovation and supportive policy. SCI has developed a roadmap that can help the UK lead the way, if we move with a strong sense of urgency.’

As the world rapidly evolves through technological advancements, the call for a robust and dynamic strategy to maintain the UK's competitiveness and economic growth becomes increasingly critical. SCI's Manifesto for an Industrial Science & Innovation Strategy stands as a comprehensive blueprint to propel the nation toward a future where scientific excellence and economic prosperity go hand in hand.

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