David Willetts, David Sainbury, Martin Bean on enabling state backing technology advance

Absolutely packed Policy Exchange meeting to hear Martin Bean, David Willetts, David Sainsbury. Backing technology through an enabling state is the big message I take away.

MB says, “Proud that Government has announced partial reversal back on ELQ…

Empower individuals to make choices through tax agenda.

Higher Education has to be about clicks and mortar, not just bricks and mortar, because bricks and mortar not scalable.

Speaks about FutureLearn, compares 25k in early years of OU with 25k registrations in first 24 hours for FutureLearn. We can export Higher Education internationally, as well as serve domestic, provide we collaborate.

Less about picking winners, Govt to act as an enabler, creating the environment.

DW says science and research highly autonomous. Companies and consumers should decide. Very limited role for Govt upstream. The tricky area is in between. Not simply horizontal, but vertical. Controlled experiment in 80s. Look at US Hamiltonian state behind Jefferson language. The US govt reduces the risk of entrepreneur. US so big and prosperous that ultimate science policy is US is major player, in practice. Not unlike UK Victorian England policy – you had to be there, if it’s big.

DW We cd mess up, and make mistakes. Some technologies might or might not succeed. But go for 8, some we might get right. We did our best, expert advice at the time.

MB Important if you look at UK economy, and the world, you need to work with Gov

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