Supplementary submission from the Council
for Science and Technology
PUTTING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING AT THE HEART
OF GOVERNMENT POLICY
The Committee asked for further advice on how
the CST's report Strategic decision making for technology policy
had been implemented.
Our report set out a priority-setting framework for
making strategic choices, and used that methodology to identify
six key technology areas which extra resource from Government
would deliver returns to the UK within a five-year timeframe,
together with four further platform or enabling technologies.
This note covers implementation of the overall framework
and support for the individual technologies. We are pleased to
see that, in almost all cases, Government and in particular the
Technology Strategy Board, is taking forward our recommendations.
Nevertheless, we shall want to return in the future to our original
recommendations and carry out a more detailed assessment.
TSB have provided us with the criteria they
use to decide where to focus resources, and these are closely
aligned with our own. They include UK capability, market opportunity,
whether the idea is "ready" and what difference TSB
intervention would make, as well as against other elements of
the CST framework such as societal implications, risks, and why
Government intervention is needed.
TSB also takes a challenge-based approach, focusing
major societal challenges and identifying which technologies or
combination of technologies can provide the best solution.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
We are pleased that Government has a competition
underway for public support for a CCS demonstration project, which
was our main recommendation.
TSB supports CCS through a £15 millions
competition for research, development and demonstration in Carbon
Abatement Technologies, in partnership with DECC and the Northern
Government also provides support for the Energy
Technologies Institute, which we understand is active in this
area and that over the next year is looking to create a portfolio
of CCS projects.
TSB has a £10 millions competition,
launched in 2008, on Gathering data in complex environments.
While we are disappointed there are no plans for a Disaster
Resilience Knowledge Transfer Network, as we recommended,
we note TSB is proposing to establish special interest groups
and we would encourage them to address the need to share expertise
in this way.
Low Carbon Distribution Networks
Investment to reinvigorate the National Grid is essential
to ensure that new, low carbon renewable technologies can be brought
on-stream and that energy efficient utilisation can be accommodated.
The Council will be assessing progress in this whole
area as part of its current project, commissioned by Government,
on the National Infrastructure. In particular CST is looking at
how various key componentsenergy, transport, communications,
waterinteract. We shall therefore be returning to this
issue as part of that project, and will be reporting in the summer.
We are aware of a number of important initiatives,
including the TSB's £15 millions Technologies for
health competition in 2007 covering diagnostics and genetic
screening, and joint initiatives such as the Healthcare Technology
Co-operatives bringing together business, NHS, academic groups
and patients to assess the feasibility of new innovations in clinical
We are pleased to hear that procurement is being
used as a way of driving up innovative capacity in business, both
through a pilot Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) between
the TSB and Department of Health and through the TSB's Innovation
Platforms. CST has been an early champion of the SBRI approach,
which provides 100% funding for projects leading to future procurement
We are pleased this is being addressed through
the TSB's Assisted Living Innovation Platform which was
launched in November 2007 jointly between TSB, DH, and two
Research Councils, EPSRC and ESRC. It is too early to assess outcomes.
We are pleased to hear that the TSB has produced
a strategy covering Electronics, Photonics and Electrical Systems
setting out areas where UK has a world lead. We welcome their
acting as a focal point for the analysis of the Plastic Electronics
value chain in the UK, as we recommended. It will be important
for TSB to address quickly the challenges of constructing a value
chain analysis that retains wealth creation opportunities for
the UK, as well as bringing together the major players to ensure
exploitation of market and product opportunities in the UK.
We recognise TSB supportover £38 millions
via collaborative R&D projects, the PETeC centre, and the
Displays and Lighting KTNand that the IUSS Committee itself
has taken evidence in this area. All this underlines the importance
of Plastic Electronics and the need for quick and effective actions
to capture value for the UK.
We are pleased to see that TSB has been supporting
these technology areas, through for example Photonics21 (for
Bandwidth telecommunications), Pervasive Computing (for Pervasive
systems) and their £10 millions Cell Therapy competition
in November 2007. We await sight of their Biosciences Strategy
which we understand is to be launched shortly.
188 These are: Carbon Capture and Storage; Disaster
Mitigation Technologies; Low Carbon Distribution Networks for
Electricity Supply; Medical Devices; E-Health; and Plastic Electronics. Back
These are: Bandwidth Telecommunications; Cell and Tissue Therapies;
Pervasive Systems; and Simulation and Modelling. Back