DTI launches programme to make UK scientific centre of excellence

The Department of Trade and Indstry (DTI) will today launch its five-year programme putting science, innovation and technology at the centre of the UK’s future industrial success

The programme maps out ‘a new industrial policy’ with the ambition of making the UK the most attractive place in the world for scientific research.

Creating Wealth from Knowledge states that the UK is winning in the global knowledge economy, but needs to do more to meet the challenge of rising economies such as China and India.

Secretary of state for trade and industry Patricia Hewitt said: “The global economic map is being redrawn. China is becoming one of the world’s largest economies, India is producing three million highly skilled graduates a year, and countries from Central and Eastern Europe – with wages a fraction of [those in the UK] – are joining the EU.

“But the UK is extremely well placed to benefit from this transformation,” she said. “Building on our strong economic foundations, we propose a new industrial policy built around the knowledge-based economy – high in skills and embracing innovation, science and technology.”

Key aims of the Creating Wealth from Knowledge programme:

  • To work with employers and unions to raise significantly the proportion of UK young people under 30 achieving skill Level 3 (A levels or the vocational equivalent).

  • To develop new proposals to attract global entrepreneurial talent and academic expertise to the UK and establish a comprehensive policy towards the recognition of foreign credentials, while continuing to monitor all our migration schemes to ensure they are robust against abuse.

  • To develop new policies to attract and retain foreign students who successfully complete a PhD in a shortage subject at an accredited UK university.

  • To ensure that the enterprise society is open to all, by raising the self-employment rate of ethnic minorities and taking action to tackle racial and age discrimination by employers.

  • To encourage best practice to produce more high-performance workplaces by implementing new information and consultation rights from Spring 2005 through the Union Modernisation Fund.

  • To work through the Women and Work Commission to improve the labour market position of women and reduce the gender pay gap.

  • To build on successful flexible working policies to help parents and carers combine their work and caring roles more easily – with the Government looking at the length and remuneration of maternity, paternity, adoptive and parental leave, and the possibility of extending the right to request flexible working to carers of adults

  • To establish a new website, Employee Direct, in 2005, to provide employees with comprehensive, tailored information on the full range of employment rights.

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