Science, Innovation and 'Brexit'

Dr Trevor Crichton presented to the recent House of Commons Parliamentary and Scientific Committee meeting.

The meeting at Portcullis House on 10 October was attended by about 95 people. Comments made at it were not necessarily those of the Government.

Stephen Metcalfe (Con MP, South Basildon) commented that the ramifications for 'Brexit' will probably not be known for possibly many decades. If 'Brexit' goes well, he said, it could be very beneficial to science and innovation in the UK, but if it goes wrong it will be catastrophic.  Metcalfe made mention of the cross-party agreement to grow public funding for innovation in the UK from 1.7% of GDP to, in principle, 3%; it is currently due to increase to 2.4%, aspiring to 3%.

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, supported the Government’s paper on science, but stressed it needed delivery. The UK is currently the second most popular country to be in collaborative research, behind the USA. For secured future collaborative work, he said, the UK should commit to contributing to future H2020 and the next program.

There was overwhelming support at the meeting both for the plan to grow public funding for innovation to 3% of GDP, and for the UK to participate in H2020 after March 2019; for example, from the CBI's Director of Innovation Tom Thackray, Prof Julia Buckingham of Universities UK, Sarah Main of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, and Graeme Reid, Professor of Science Research and Policy at UCL.

Ian Morris of the British Fluid Power Association, hoped for future commitment to innovation within the UK needs to be publicised and promoted by Government.

Dr Trevor Crichton, Associate Consultant at Oakdene Hollins, commented that, whilst the UK is a global leader in surface engineering, the UK’s industry is heavily reliant on the global and EU markets so maintaining easy access to both is of paramount importance to its development and survival. Trevor also gave a paper on 'The economic value of surface coatings'.