People can play vital role in science - Lord Bhattacharyya
Science and society must join together if Britain is to meet its social challenges and propel economic growth, Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya has warned.
Speaking in the House of Lords, the head of Warwick Manufacturing Group bemoaned the attitude to science, saying there was “a lack of cultural belief in the power of technology to transform lives”.
And he hit out at the “caste system” surrounding science.
Lord Bhattacharyya warned: “We have a choice between two attitudes to science. The first holds that science and technology can somehow be reserved for a caste of qualified researchers, whose ideas emerge as bolts from the blue for the rest of society.
“This isolates hard science from economics, and scientific research from the real world.
“It can be a comfortable arrangement. Scientists receive a small tithe of public expenditure, stability, and a certain status. In return they are expected to produce research their peers regard as useful, while the wider population waits hopefully for scientific solutions.”
Lord Bhattacharyya said the result was two castes – “those who do science, and those who have science done to them”.
And this, he noted, might explain why despite the outstanding research taking place only one per cent of British businesses say universities are of “high importance” to them as a source of innovation.