The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published its Green Paper, Building our Industrial Strategy in January 2017. It outlined ten pillars, aimed at improving living standards, and driving economc growth across the country and the economy.
GuildHE responded to the Government’s consultation on the strategy, arguing that we are ideally placed to aid government in its ambitions to drive productivity and growth. Our member institutions are well-embedded in local economies throughout the UK, allowing them to support, develop and enhance the Industrial Strategy.
We highlighted ten priorities for the Industrial Strategy going forward:
1. GuildHE supports the Industrial Strategy’s focus on place and ensuring growth in all regions of the UK. GuildHE institutions can develop and enhance the Industrial Strategy because they are embedded in local economies.
2. GuildHE agrees with the BEIS Commons Committee that the Industrial Strategy should consider specific, cross-sectoral ‘missions’ to meet UK-wide and local public policy challenges.
3. Government must invest in excellent research wherever it is found and look beyond the usual big names in research.
4. Government should increase the focus on, and funding for, applied, practice-based research that has the potential to achieve greater local and national impact. This should include a review and broadening of the terms of HEIF.
5. Government should invest in existing university networks to drive innovation and knowledge exchange. GuildHE’s research network, CREST, is ideally placed to support the collaborative commercialisation of research among smaller centres of research excellence across the country.
6. Government should develop “Hub and Clusters” networks to bring together academic and business communities for applied research that addresses large-scale industrial challenges.
7. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund should incorporate a place-based element focussed on economically disadvantaged regions of the UK. It should pay particular interest to other sectors such as agritech, marine and the creative industries.
8. GuildHE wants to see a significant increase in the numbers of business-orientated PhDs: Government should invest in more Knowledge Transfer Partnerships PhDs and fund them for four years.
9. The new technical education system must avoid creating artificial divides between academic and technical. GuildHE members provide excellent technical and professional higher education with strong industry links.
10. Government should invest in creativity. GuildHE wants to see a greater focus on arts education and skills development as part of the Industrial Strategy Creative skills are useful to all sectors including STEM and help drive innovation and entrepreneurship in all parts of the UK.