Nano-Tech Engineering

Time to face facts about the UK’s productivity stagnation

General

Written by Pienebype Saturday, 25 February 2017 17:19

One positive feature of the Autumn Statement that the Chancellor of the Exchequer presented yesterday was that he gave unprecedented prominence to the UK’s serious productivity problem. What was less positive was that he had no analysis of where the problem comes from, and his proposed measures to address it are entirely inadequate. This matters. … Continue reading "Time to face facts about the UK’s productivity stagnation"
 

What has science policy ever done for Barnsley?

General

Written by Pienebype Saturday, 25 February 2017 17:19

Cambridge’s Centre for Science and Policy, where I am currently a visiting fellow, held a roundtable discussion yesterday on the challenges for science policy posed by today’s politics post-Brexit, post-Trump, introduced by Harvard’s Sheila Jasanoff and myself. This is an expanded and revised version of my opening remarks. I’m currently commuting between Sheffield and Cambridge, … Continue reading "What has science policy ever done for Barnsley?"

Physical limits and diminishing returns of innovation

General

Written by Pienebype Saturday, 25 February 2017 17:19

Are ideas getting harder to find? This question is asked in a preprint with this title by economists Bloom, Jones, Van Reenan and Webb, who attempt to quantify decreasing research productivity, showing for a number of fields that it is currently taking more researchers to achieve the same rate of progress. The paper is discussed … Continue reading "Physical limits and diminishing returns of innovation"
 

Manufacturing *is* special, but it’s important to understand why

General

Written by Pienebype Saturday, 25 February 2017 17:19

The politics of Trump and Brexit has drawn attention again to the phenomenon of “left-behind” communities. In the US rust belt and the UK’s northern cities, de-industrialisation and the loss of manufacturing jobs has stripped communities, not just of their economic base, but of their very sense of purpose. But to some commentators, the focus … Continue reading "Manufacturing *is* special, but it’s important to understand why"

The Higher Education and Research Bill, the Haldane principle, and the autonomy of science

General

Written by Pienebype Saturday, 25 February 2017 17:19

The UK government’s Higher Education and Research Bill is currently working its way through parliament – it’s currently in the committee stage at the House of Lords, where it’s encountering some turbulence. A recent newspaper article by (Lord) Chris Patten – “Leave state control of Universities to China” – gives a sense of how some … Continue reading "The Higher Education and Research Bill, the Haldane principle, and the autonomy of science"
 

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