University Alliance responds to the Government’s Science and Innovation Strategy

University Alliance welcomed the long-awaited publication of the Government’s Science and Innovation Strategy today.

Professor Steve West, Chair of University Alliance, said: “The scale of consultation by the Government on the Science and Innovation Strategy was unprecedented and they should be applauded for that.

“However, it’s disappointing to learn this long-awaited strategy, which should be setting out the future of the next 10 years of UK science and innovation, has kicked back much of the crucial decision-making until after the election next May, and in some cases, following further reviews.  The Strategy provides a clear diagnosis of the main issues currently affecting the UK’s science base and we strongly support the overall aim to establish the UK as a world-leading knowledge economy.  Yet we are left wondering which remedies the government will prescribe.

“We are pleased to see that many of the points University Alliance has been highlighting feature throughout the analysis.  As the various reviews get underway, there are some clear principles provided in the Strategy that should be adhered to.  Ensuring that excellence is rewarded wherever it is found remains critical.

“In particular we welcome the steer for Sir Paul Nurse’s review that “excellence must remain a fundamental value of UK science” and that the Research Councils should have the right “capabilities and structures” to deliver this.  Of course, achieving efficiencies will continue to be vital but as part of this we should make sure that our funding bodies have the appropriate resources to generate the best possible outcomes from -public investment.

It is also highly positive to see that the Strategy recognises the need for a greater focus on engaging UK SMEs within our research and innovation ecosystem.  This will clearly be an important element of the joint Research Councils, Innovate UK and Higher Education Funding Bodies proposal on the development of a whole system approach to research impact.  University Alliance looks forward to working with these bodies as their plans develop.”

The Government published the strategy – “Our Plans for Growth: Science and Innovation” – today. Read the strategy here:

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