Former Bow Group Chairman, Sam Gyimah, calls for 'spark of genius' to ignite post-Brexit business success

BRITAIN must rediscover its “spark of genius” and reassert itself as a “science and technology superpower” to make the most of Brexit, according to Universities and Science Minister Sam Gyimah.

Mr Gyimah said he wanted to see bright ideas generated in universities and laboratories turned into commercial success by the nation’s entrepreneurs as revenues from financial services and North Sea oil and gas start to decline.

He said Britain should be a global hub of high-tech, research-led, businesses and called for a return of the pioneering spirit shown by the likes of Sir Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday and Frank Whittle.

Mr Gyimah said the Government had declared its intent to seize post-Brexit business opportunities with £4.7bn fund for science and research, the largest increase in investment since Britain first voted to join the European Economic Community.

He said: “Our technological ingenuity is a national asset more precious than oil

“In asking anew how Britain will make its way in the world, Brexit has revealed an issue that has been brewing for more than a decade.

“Prior to the crisis in 2009, the UK’s economic fortunes were buoyed up by financial services and North Sea oil and gas.

“With the City less profitable today, and North Sea output naturally declining, the search is on for the next wave of world-leading British businesses.”

Meanwhile, global breakthroughs in scientific knowledge and technological progress are disrupting entire industries at an unprecedented pace.

“Here, Britain is well-placed to lead. We may often speak of ourselves as a nation of shopkeepers, but we are also a nation of scientists, engineers and innovators.”

Mr Gyimah was speaking ahead of the launch of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a new national funding agency which will see eight existing bodies responsible for financing academic research merge.

UKRI will ensure investment is directed towards more collaborative research and push for ideas generated in UK laboratories to be transformed into “real world” business opportunities.

He said: “Government has a role to play, but ultimately successful research and innovation relies on serendipity, determination, and the spark of genius that comes from the best minds working together.

“So, to deliver on this ambition, Britain has to be the go-to-place for the world’s brightest and best scientists and innovators.

“This Government understands that whether it is in the labs of our great universities or in the marketplace, success relies on fostering the “can-do” spirit our nation is built on.

“In backing ingenuity, enterprise and endeavour, we are helping write the next chapter for our economy – and helping make the world a better place.”

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Monday, May 14, 2018