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Government Criticised For Lack Of Science And Tech Vision

The UK needs a chief engineer and chief scientist to create a “vision” for science and technology

The UK government has been criticised over its approach to science, engineering and technology with it’s strategy being described as “reducing science to a political bargaining chip”.

In a report released today, the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee of the UK Parliament said that the government must raise its game to create a more ambitious plan for science and engineering and provide a more “broad vision”. The call follows please for tax breaks for industry.

In particular the report alludes to what the group of MPs claim is the government’s failure to find a “stable home” for the Government Office for Science which has “reduced science and engineering advice to, at best, a peripheral policy concern, and, at worst, a political bargaining chip.”

The committee has called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to create the roles of “Government Chief Engineer” and “Government Chief Scientist” to help raise the profile and improve the coordination of science and technology policy in the UK. The group also asked that after the general election a new Science, Engineering and Technology Committee should be created.

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“We ask that a tangible and ambitious strategy for UK science and engineering policy is developed. The Government has committed to placing science and engineering advice at the heart of policy formulation and now it is time to do so: scrutiny of policy must be strengthened and a clearer vision for the future must be developed,” said Phil Willis MP (pictured), the chairman of the committee.