Film producer Lord Puttnam, appointed last week as chairman of Nesta, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, wants to rekindle the UK as an ‘ideas factory’. Nesta is being set up with a £200m National Lottery endowment.
Puttnam said: ‘By bridging the gulf that has traditionally separated science and technology from the arts [Nesta] will be a magnet for fresh thinking. Since the first industrial revolution, Britain has been the most prolific ideas factory in the world. Nesta is going to help turn more of those ideas into jobs and businesses.’
Trade and industry secretary Margaret Beckett called on Nesta to ‘have a sense of urgency, to be imaginative and to take reasonable risks in its drive to nurture individual talent’.
Nesta’s statutory objectives are to be achieved in three ways, said Beckett: helping talented people reach their full potential; helping turn ideas and innovation into marketable products and services; and contributing to public appreciation of science, technology and the arts.
The £200m will be invested to generate a flow of income from which to fund its programmes. Nesta will also seek income from other sources, including donations and a share in the profits of successful ventures.
Puttnam, who will be paid £22,000 pro rata for two days a week, will chair a committee of eight trustees, who are not remunerated.
The trustees are Dr Christopher Evan, biochemist and entrepreneur; Dame Bridget Ogilvie, medical scientist; professor Sir Martin Rees, who has wide experience of international science and was president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1994-95; TV personality Carol Vorderman; David Wardell, editor of Inventors World Magazine; Francois Matarasso, principal with independent research group Comedia; Clive Gillinson, managing director of the London Symphony Orchestra; and Jenny McIntosh, executive director of the Royal National Theatre.