Science minister David Willetts says that the UK should focus its publicly-funded R&D efforts around ‘eight great technologies’ (robotics, satellites, regenerative medicine, big data, genetics, agritech, enery storage and advanced materials). Is this a good strategy?
Our poll revealed some scepticism about David Willett’s ‘eight great technologies’, the target for government R&D funding (see Iain Grey’s column on TSB activity in these areas). Only 22 per cent of respondents to the poll were fully behind this strategy, saying that it’s the right focus on the right technologies. A little under 27 per cent thought that the approach was correct, but the list of technologies too narrow; while just over 10 per cent thought that the policy of focusing on a few technology areas was correct, but Willett’s choice of technologies was wrong. The largest group of respondents, just under 40 per cent, thought that the policy ran the risk of missing new, developing technology areas.
What do you think? Which areas should we be focusing on? Should there be more ‘Catapult’ centres, along the more diverse lines of Germany’s Fraunhofer Institutes? Is government funding going towards dead end sectors, and if so, which ones? Let us know below.