Dyson touts innovation

Posted on 9 Mar 2010 by The Manufacturer

Industrial designer James Dyson today stressed the role of science and engineering with the release of a new report.

Entitled “Making the UK the leading high-tech exporter in Europe”, the report touts innovation as the best vehicle for driving the UK out of the downturn.

Dyson – who lent his name to his bagless brand of vacuum cleaners – is calling for more investment and support for innovative engineering. Together with some of Britain’s most highly regarded industrial leaders and academics, he has developed a number of policy recommendations which the next government should follow to make the UK more competitive and help the country leave the recession behind.

“We need to inspire and enlighten people: science and engineering can change lives, society and the economy,” said Dyson. “High tech exports create real wealth and jobs, and will help set us on a course for sustainable prosperity. If we don’t capitalise on our engineering expertise now there’ll be no turning back.”

The report focuses on culture, education, universities and R&D. It claims research and engineering has been ignored for decades in Britain, and says large-scale projects must be put in place to prove the UK’s ability with high tech infrastructure.

A stronger bond between universities and companies should also be developed by changing the way education is structured, the report suggests. The system in this country should concentrate more on what companies need and what students want – for examples offering short courses aimed to provide industry experience – which would inspire more fledgling scientists and engineers each year. New technology and start-ups should be helped with more investments in small innovative businesses made and more funds for R&D provided.

A member of the Dyson Taskforce, Sir Peter Knight, deputy rector at Imperial College, said: “James Dyson is right. We have some inherent strengths. The UK is the sixth largest manufacturing economy in the world and has four of the top ten global universities. If we harness the best of both worlds, we can grow our high value add industries.”

Roberto Priolo