HM Treasury

Independent reviews

Sainsbury Review of Science and Innovation

05 October 2007

The race to the top

Lord Sainsbury of Turville today published his Review of the UK science and innovation system. The Review examines the role of science and innovation in ensuring the UK remains competitive in our increasingly globalised economy.

Company strategies based solely on low costs will end in a downward spiral, each year bringing a new low-cost competitor. The best way for the UK to make the most of globalisation is to support the restructuring of British companies into high-value goods, services and industries.

We should seek to compete with emerging economies in a 'race to the top' rather than in a 'race to the bottom'.

The UK is well placed to take advantage of the new markets opened up by globalisation. We have an extraordinary record of scientific discovery and a rapidly growing share of high-technology manufacturing and knowledge-intensive services in the UK's GDP. The amount of knowledge transfer from British universities has increased significantly and we are beginning to see the growth of exciting high-technology clusters around many of our world-class research universities.

There are, however, many opportunities to build on the successful policies that have been introduced in recent years and key recommendations in the review include:

Lord Sainsbury said:

"The challenge is not to hide behind trade barriers or engage in a 'race to the bottom' but to invest in the future in areas such as knowledge generation, innovation, education, re-training, and technological infrastructure.

Twenty-five years ago it would not have been possible to imagine the UK
as a global leader in science and innovation in the world economy, but today it looks like an attainable goal. We can be one of the winners in 'the race to the top' but only if we run fast".

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Background information

In November 2006, the Chancellor commissioned Lord Sainsbury to conduct an independent review of the UK Science and Innovation system.

Review Team contact details

The recommendations of the Sainsbury Review will be taken forward by the Department for Innovation Universities and Skills (DIUS). Please contact the department if you have any questions: 0207 215 5555

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