1.In January 2017 the Government published its Industrial Strategy Green Paper. It stated that the objective of the industrial strategy is “to improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country”. It listed 10 ‘strategic pillars’ for the strategy, the first two of which are directly relevant to our interest in science, research and skills:
(1) Investing in science, research and innovation—we must become a more innovative economy and do more to commercialise our world leading science base to drive growth across the UK.
(2) Developing skills—we must help people and businesses to thrive by: ensuring everyone has the basic skills needed in a modern economy; building a new system of technical education to benefit the half of young people who do not go to university; boosting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills, digital skills and numeracy; and by raising skill levels in lagging areas.
According to the Government, the industrial strategy “will launch a major upgrade in the role of science and innovation in our economy for the years ahead.”
2.The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS Committee) recently reported on the industrial strategy initiative after the publication of the Green Paper. Several of our own inquiries have also addressed many of the science and skills issues involved:
3.We decided to take further oral evidence in February 2017, focusing on how the Green Paper has dealt with the issues from these various inquiries and reports. Our witnesses included representatives from the Royal Society, Nesta and the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, as well as others who had previously given evidence during one or more of our earlier inquiries—the Bio-Industry Association, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Universities UK. We are grateful to them all for their input. We have accordingly produced this short report to bring that work together and thereby feed into the Government’s consultation exercise on its Green Paper. In Chapter 2 we examine the Green Paper’s coverage of science, research and innovation issues, and in Chapter 3 we cover the STEM skills agenda.
5 Science and Technology Committee, First Report of Session 2015–16, , HC 340, para 37
7 , HC 1047
8 On 2 February 2017, as CEO-designate of UKRI.
9 Science and Technology Committee, Tenth Report of Session 2016–17, Managing intellectual property and technology transfer, HC 755
11 Science and Technology Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2016–17, Leaving the EU: implications and opportunities for science and research, HC 502
14 , HC 853
15 The latest , a science and technology festival for school children organised annually by Engineering UK, was held at the NEC in Birmingham in March 2017
16 Also gave oral evidence in our Managing intellectual property and technology transfer inquiry and EU regulation of the life sciences inquiry.
17 Also gave oral evidence in our Managing intellectual property and technology transfer inquiry and Science budget inquiry
18 Also gave oral evidence in our Leaving the EU inquiry and Science budget inquiry
5 April 2017