Busi­ness sec­re­tary Greg Clark on in­spir­ing UK R&D

For­mula 1-in­spired car mak­ers Busi­ness sec­re­tary Greg Clark on the need for Bri­tain’s car in­dus­try to put the D back into R&D

CAR (UK) - - Contents -

> ANTICIPATING THE fu­ture is fraught with dif­fi­cul­ties. Faced with all of the tech­no­log­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties, you need to pre­pare for it, to make sure you make the right de­ci­sions now in or­der to suc­ceed in the years ahead. That’s why the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor fea­tures promi­nently in the in­dus­trial strat­egy we launched just be­fore Christ­mas.

> WE’RE PROUD of the achieve­ments of the sec­tor. It’s a sec­tor that em­ploys over 400,000 men and women in this coun­try, pro­vid­ing not only good jobs pay­ing on av­er­age more than half as much again as the na­tional av­er­age, but very of­ten pro­vid­ing an en­try into ca­reers that are de­mand­ing, ful­fill­ing, and bring peo­ple into a deep in­volve­ment in the cut­ting edge of in­no­va­tion, de­sign, pro­duc­tion, mar­ket­ing and so many other ar­eas. > ANY STRAT­EGY for the fu­ture should build on cur­rent suc­cesses, and our au­to­mo­tive sec­tor is pre­cisely that. But it should also ask: will this have a strong mar­ket in the fu­ture? That’s why the in­dus­trial strat­egy has cho­sen the fu­ture of mo­bil­ity as one of the four grand chal­lenges. These chal­lenges are ar­eas in which we want to con­cen­trate par­tic­u­lar fo­cus in the years ahead.

> BE­TWEEN NOW and 2030 we want to bring to­gether our lead­ing sci­en­tists, uni­ver­si­ties and re­search in­sti­tu­tions, to work with busi­nesses to en­sure that Bri­tain is well-equipped – from tal­ent to test beds, from the reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment to in­fras­truc­ture – to be one of the best places on Earth not just to de­velop and test new ap­proaches to mo­bil­ity but to make them avail­able as fast as pos­si­ble to UK con­sumers.

> THE GRAND chal­lenge is sup­ported by the big­gest in­crease in pub­lic R&D in­vest­ment that this coun­try has ever ex­pe­ri­enced, with an ex­tra £3bn a year of pub­lic funds be­ing in­vested by 2021, com­pared with 2016.

> WE ARE a sci­en­tific pow­er­house. Other coun­tries recog­nise that up­grad­ing in­vest­ment in re­search is key to fu­ture com­pet­i­tive­ness. We can’t stand still. We need to in­crease our per­for­mance and in­vest­ment in R&D. Cru­cially the D part of R&D has par­tic­u­lar prob­lems. As a na­tion we have some­times ex­celled at dis­cov­ery but let the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of new in­ven­tions slip through our fin­gers.

> WE KNOW that in this coun­try we haven’t al­ways had the most depend­able sup­ply of school and col­lege leavers ed­u­cated and trained in the skills that open up ca­reers in this sec­tor. The in­dus­trial strat­egy is clear-sighted about the need to change that.

> THE FACT that mo­tor­sport teams fly­ing the flags of na­tions right across the world choose to have their home in Bri­tain is a source of na­tional pride, and proves that the ex­cel­lence and cre­ativ­ity that are em­bod­ied there de­pends on, and flour­ishes through, in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion. We need to be more in­ter­na­tional, not less.

Greg Clark out­lined his vi­sion for Bri­tish car man­u­fac­tur­ing at the FT Fu­ture of the Car Sum­mit

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