So David Sainsbury's review is here at long last. The government has accepted his recommendations and even plans to implement some of them right away.
First off, the Technology Strategy Board will get £1 billion over the next three years, with £120 million coming from the research councils and £180 million from the Regional Development Agencies. Further details will be announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review, expected early next week.
Secondly, The number of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships will be doubled to boost research-business links.
Third, the government will launch a “major campaign” to improve the teaching a learning of science in schools. This will include boosting investment in the training of specialist science teachers, improving careers advice and doubling the number of school science and engineering clubs over the next five years.
And finally, government departments will be encouraged to improve their use of procurement to drive innovation. The Small Business Research Initiative will be reformed and administered by the TSB.
The Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills will develop a new science and innovation strategy, which will include plans for implementing the rest of the review’s recommendations. DIUS will also produce an annual cross-government innovation report.
The selection of VIPs who were chosen to discuss the review with Gordon Brown this morning included representatives from the research councils, TSB, RDAs, industry, universities and other research funders such as the Wellcome Trust. Here are links to responses from HEFCE, Nesta, and RCUK. They all broadly welcomed the review, and the government’s response. Brown invited them to return in a few months to review the government’s progress on implementing the recommendations.
There is not much that is earth-shatteringly new in the review. Much of it, particularly the recommendations on using government procurement more effectively to stimulate innovation, has been said before. In fact, Labour’s own Kitty Ussher, before she joined the Treasury, had a private member’s bill to that effect die on the order paper last year. All that remains is for the government to go ahead and actually implement the changes they’ve been talking about for months.
To that end, Richard Sykes, rector of Imperial College London, had perhaps the most useful advice for Gordon when he told him to “just get on with it!”