By Daniel Hunter
Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, has welcomed the recommendations made by leading lights from the science and design communities, on further steps the government should take to encourage collaboration between the two disciplines to drive economic growth.
The event was streamed live from a groundbreaking live debate, with the minister opening the event from the Design Museum, before closing it at the Science Museum.
Hosted by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, in partnership with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the two museums, the debate centred on the critical link between science and design and the need for even greater collaboration between them in the current ‘third industrial revolution’, that sees technologies such as 3D printing now allowing small start-ups and even individuals to both design and manufacture.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “Combining science and design is vital as the UK positions itself as a world leader for developing new innovations to stay ahead in the global race. I recognise the important need for these two communities to collaborate more and push forward the exciting new industrial revolution in technology.
"There have been some interesting ideas made from key players in this field during our discussions that will help to shape the future collaboration between science and design in the UK.”
The recommendations will be considered by the minister and used to inform government thinking around science and design. The recommendations are:
From Deyan Sudjic, Director, Design Museum on behalf of the speakers at the Design Museum:
- At the education level, our recommendation is for the Minister for Universities & Science to take on the responsibility of being an acting Minister for Design, advocating the place of design in STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics — subjects.
- At the other end of the spectrum, we need greater collaboration across government departments, institutions, and museums to help stimulate the UK economy.
From David Bott on behalf of the speakers at the Science Museum:
- The need to break down language barriers and come up with new ways of expression to encourage interaction between scientists, engineers and designers of all shades.
- It is important to celebrate the successes of joint working and to communicate that, when these two areas work together, what results is great products and services that people remember and buy.
The last recommendation, which is a strong point for the Technology Strategy Board and the Research Councils, is to fund this collaboration so that it becomes more commonplace and established, and goes on to power the next industrial revolution.
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