Council of Science and Technology report claims UK must act to maintain global scientific standing
The government’s top scientific advisory body has called for action to ensure that the UK is not eclipsed by the growing research strength of China and India.
In its report published yesterday (March 1), the Council of Science and Technology (CST) analyses the state of science and research within the UK against a rapidly changing global situation. It prescribes action such as redesigned PhD and masters programmes to attract and nurture the best researchers and maintain Britain’s leading position in scientific research.
The report – by senior figures from across the field of science, engineering and technology – focuses on people; prioritisation of research; organisation of the research and innovation landscape; and public engagement.
Key recommendations include:
- The government should rethink the Master degree/PhD landscape so that PhD degrees generally last for four years, with the first one or two years potentially leading to a Masters degree, which could develop specific and widely-deployable skills
- The government should articulate the vision for UK research, put forward by CST, to justify sustained investment through a difficult period for public spending
- The government should put in place a framework for research and investment to ensure research can be translated into real world benefits and help tackle global challenges.
Government Chief Scientific Advisor and co-Chair of the CST Professor John Beddington said: “The UK’s research base is second only to the US and provides real benefits to the economy and society, which amply justify public and private investment. However, the world is changing. This position, and all the benefits it brings to the UK, is under threat from strong investments by existing and emerging economies.
“British science and engineering has a crucial role to play tackling global challenges and building a 21st century infrastructure. A strategy properly focusing our efforts will ensure science spending can compete successfully with other financial pressures in a tough economic climate.”
Responding to the report, Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson said: "The CST report on the future of research in the UK is timely. After a decade of substantial investment in research, the physical landscape of science has been transformed, with facilities light-years from where they were. It is right now to focus on people and new methods of research collaboration, and we will be considering CST's vision carefully. Its recommendation to review technology and innovation centres is already underway."
Added the 02 March 2010 in category Innovation News