UK Science Leaders Call for Action

27/06/2024

UK science and technology leaders are urging the next government to implement detailed and effective strategies to harness the country’s scientific potential for economic growth.

There is a strong call for greater clarity and action from political parties, as current high-level statements lack the concrete plans needed to fully exploit opportunities in areas like life sciences and quantum computing.

Significant capital investment, improved infrastructure, and enhanced international collaboration are considered essential to facilitate innovation.

However, infrastructure shortages, such as those impacting the “Cambridge 2040” project, present substantial hurdles to expansion. Political and social challenges also pose barriers to growth.

There are calls for regulatory improvements and increased private investment to expedite the market introduction of innovations.

Leaders recommend implementing recent reviews and reforms to promote university spinouts and increase pension fund flows into innovation.

High visa costs for global talent are a concern, as they make the UK less competitive compared to other countries.

Additionally, a growing funding crisis in universities, particularly those outside top-ranked institutions, threatens sector development.

Michael Thornton, senior director, the public sector at Investigo, part of The IN Group, said: “Staff shortages fuelled by under-investment in education and skills have been holding back tech innovation across the country for a long time.

“Especially in the public sector, which should be the driver of national infrastructure and public services, resourcing has been a huge challenge for many years.

“Resolving this issue should be a key priority for the incoming government.

“When it comes to implementing technology projects, strong direction within the public sector is essential to speeding up delivery and accelerating the development of civil servants.

“This, in turn, will have a knock-on impact on attracting and retaining skilled tech staff within the public sector.

“It will be up to the incoming government to provide skills programmes, career progression opportunities and a strong sense of value for our civil servants, who are hugely important in helping the UK become a science and technology superpower.”

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