British firms lack vision and are not ambitious enough in commercialising research and technology, said industrialists and academics at a Confederation of British Industry briefing on the Government’s Foresight programme.
Foresight, launched in 1994, is run by the Office of Science and Technology. Through 16 sector panels it aims to develop market and technological opportunities to promote wealth creation.
‘We’re not ambitious enough and don’t put technology and vision together,’ said Dr John Beacham, ICI’s chief scientist and group research manager. ‘We need a more holistic approach to R&D, embracing wider skills, and intense ambition to make it work.’
Trevor Truman, British Aerospace’s director of engineering said Foresight offered huge opportunities for all kinds of companies. ‘We need to take time to use Foresight to help them along,’ he said
There was less agreement on the funding of R&D. In the past 10 years the Government’s total annual investment in R&D has declined from £6.8bn to £5.6bn.
‘We need to share in the EU’s R&D efforts and budget and focus on a few big projects,’ said Truman.