The British Academy today welcomes the Government’s continued commitment to research and innovation through the industrial strategy Green Paper announced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
British Universities provide some of the finest research and development outputs in the world; our cutting-edge evidence base provides significant future growth areas for the economy and offers key opportunities to inform the industrial strategy of the Government. The Government’s commitment of £4.7 billion of new funds for science and innovation through the establishment of the National Productivity Investment Fund, and the new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will help cement the UK’s reputation as a destination for research and innovation. It is this investment in research which drives innovation and new approaches for tackling major societal challenges and improving quality of life. This is why we believe that the government must set a target of 3% of GDP for combined public and private R&D spending.
Growth and productivity are key areas of focus for the British Academy, and we believe that the Government must look to stimulate the jobs of the future and understand the needs of the 21st century in developing an improved skills base.
Lord Stern, President of the British Academy, said: “Activities in the service sector now account for some 80% per cent of UK GDP. These outputs and jobs depend critically on the skills inherent in Humanities and Social Sciences research and study. In a modern economy it is the combination of these skills and those of STEM that are key. They are intertwined and mutually supportive. We must not lose sight of the fact that the service sector will be the key driver of growth, and these skills are critical to that sector for economic growth.
55% of university students in the UK study the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, totalling around 1.25 million students. These graduates possess a wide range of skills, from creativity to problem-solving, influencing, negotiating and navigating uncertainty. These skills often match those demand from employers in fields as diverse as financial services, museums, teaching, and health care. In fact, over half of professional leaders in 30 countries studied humanities or social sciences at university. We must not neglect the economic and cultural value that research and study in the humanities and social sciences brings to the UK and to the world.”
We look forward to responding to the Government’s Green Paper and will work with our Fellowship of leading academics to support the successful implementation of the Government’s industrial strategy and its aims.