David Willetts said that science has an important role to play in driving growth.
Key themes from his' speech included:
- Ensuring that science retains public trust. The Government’s focus on open data and allowing the public to request government-held data is a part of this.
- The value of scientific clusters for providing a low-risk environment for a high-risk activity, such as the computer game industry around Abertay University near Dundee.
- To focus less on scientific breakthroughs being made in the UK and more on ensuring that UK scientists and businesses are well placed to take advantage of new technologies, wherever they originate.
- Government backing for research makes economic sense. He said: “research council spend is doing the job it should be doing – generating wider benefits across the economy as a whole”.
- Exploring how public competitions offering prizes could stimulate the growth of new technologies, giving the example of the X Prize driving innovation in sub-obital flight.
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