The British Academy, alongside the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Academy of Medical Sciences, held a fringe event at the Labour party conference on Monday to discuss whether research and innovation can fuel the UK economy. The academies have proposed this question at each of the three main party conferences.
Professor Christopher Pissarides FBA, School Professor of Economics and Political Sciences at LSE and Nobel Laureate, spoke at the fringe event yesterday defending the role of humanities and social sciences in the country’s economic recovery. He explained that the current coalition government does support research, building upon curiosity and facilities, but is weaker in its support of innovation, which focussed more on investment in equipment and long term finance.
He continued, research is not just about engineering, there needs to be more support for research carried out by economists and business consultants. The problem in the sector was a failure of management and productivity. Improving this would see a start improvement in the economy, he argued.
Other participants in the panel discussion were Iain Wright MP, Shadow Minister for Competitiveness and Enterprise, Professor Lionel Tarassenko FMedSci FREng of Oxford University, Dr Martyn Thomas FREng, Director of Martyn Thomas Associates, and Alok Jha, Science correspondent at The Guardian, who chaired the discussion.
For the full list of party conference events click here.
To download a joint statement by the four national academies, click here.