Making science work for development

Panel discussion: Does the UK do too much research?

13 December

The UK Government’s commitment to increase total UK R&D investment to 3% of GDP, and 2.4% milestone in 2027, will see a significant uplift in public R&D funding. Announcements of substantive additional investment in the 2016 Autumn Statement and the 2017 Budget are delivering a major increase in public funding for R&D. Meanwhile, the establishment of UKRI represents a shift in the structure of the research funding landscape. Successful delivery will require major increases in business investment alongside higher levels of public spending. This raises important questions:

  • Are research and innovation funders currently investing in too many research topics without resourcing projects adequately?

  • Should the research community keep exploring further areas or should funding could be concentrated in a smaller number of existing fields with high potential?

  • Who should determine research and innovation priorities?

  • What are the optimum roles of universities, research institutes and business within the research and innovation landscape?

  • What is the optimum balance of funding between different funding streams?

This panel discussion will bring together representatives from funders, business and academia to consider these and other questions and reflect on how the UK can continue to ensure a world-leading and sustainable research base.

The panel members will be:

  • Graeme Reid, Professor of Science and Research Policy, UCL (Chair)

  • Felicity Burch, Head of Innovation and Digital, CBI

  • Richard Jones, Professor of Physics, University of Sheffield

  • Imran Khan, Head of Public Engagement, Wellcome Trust

  • Helen Swift, Public Affairs, Airbus

Event schedule:

18:00-19:30 Panel discussion

19:30-20.30 Drinks reception