Don't hesitate to innovate, RSC Chief Executive tells Wales
14 May 2012
Wales can and must do more to win competitive research funding to enable it to further innovate, the Royal Society of Chemistry Chief Executive said today.
Speaking on the eve of the RSC's annual Science and the Welsh Assembly event in Cardiff, Dr Robert Parker pointed to many examples of excellent research bases in Wales but warned of the dangers of a continued lack of a large R&D base in either the public or private sectors.
Dr Parker said: "The engineering department at Swansea University and neuroscience and related imaging activities at Cardiff University are just two examples of excellent research hubs in Wales, among the world's best in fact, and there are others.
"However, in comparison to many developed countries, the lack of a large R&D base could hinder Wales in its ongoing attempts to commercialise the results of its exciting research. For the nation to thrive, more funds will need to be obtained from the UK Research Councils, the Technology Strategy Board, EU Cohesion Funds and major charities.
"Naturally, introducing innovation to any walk of life requires both time and money, so my message to Wales is: do not hesitate to innovate.
"The results will be extremely beneficial: a highly skilled employment base helps us to tackle challenges that face our society such as fighting disease, building a sustainable low-carbon economy using sustainable materials and renewable energies, as well as providing enough food for a growing population."
Dr Parker welcomed the launch in March of the Welsh Government's Science for Wales strategy, which identified the lack of a current complementary innovation strategy to deal with the commercial exploitation of R&D and the promotion of innovation.
To that end, the RSC is engaging with the Welsh Government and has just begun work on its submission to the Innovation Strategy for Wales, a consultation recently opened that ends in July. This will encompass the wider innovation agenda, the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises, the vital link between research and innovation, and other issues.
The consultation is the first opportunity for the RSC and other societies to make a contribution to its future development. Once this strategy is established, consideration will be given to appointing a national leader for innovation.
"There is already a national leadership and innovation agency for healthcare in Wales," said Dr Parker. "So it would be most welcome to see an individual in a similar role for the benefit of the nation."
Science and the Assembly 2012
15 May 2012 Pierhead Building and Senedd, Cardiff
Science for Wales
Read the Welsh Government's Science for Wales strategy
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