In response to the Industrial Strategy White Paper, Alun Evans, Chief Executive of the British Academy said:
“In an era of unprecedented change, understanding society and the human world has never been so important. That is why the humanities and social sciences must be at the heart of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. We are pleased to see that today’s White Paper reflects consultation feedback and are optimistic for the vision it sets out for the nation.
“We welcome the Government’s decision to raise total research and development (R&D) investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is also encouraging that the Government has identified artificial intelligence and the data economy; clean growth; the ageing society; and the future of mobility as key societal challenges and obstacles to productivity. Tackling these challenges will require many minds, and insights from the humanities and social sciences will be vital.
“The new Turing PhD Fellowships in Artificial Intelligence, to be held in partnership with the Alan Turing Institute, are an opportunity to explore the cultural, social and ethical implications of this area of cutting edge technology. We also welcome the recognition through the strategic innovation challenges to be funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund of the potential that the creative and digital industries offer for driving productivity.
“As we have repeatedly argued, the UK’s growth strategy should play to its strengths; the nation's most productive sectors, such as the creative industries and financial services, rely on an adaptable, high-skilled workforce. Indeed, our report published today, The Right Skills, identifies these skills among arts, humanities and social science graduates. These include number, data and digital skills, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Royal Society on encouraging universities and employers to signal the value of qualifications with a significant quantitative element for entry to higher education and employment.
“We look forward to continuing to work with our Fellowship of leading academics to support and inform the Government’s Industrial Strategy.”