Research for the 21st century: How should public money be spent?

September 3, 2020 6:00 - 6:45

Location: Room 28H


Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser’s keynote speech considers the pivotal role of research and innovation funding systems in navigating the global turbulence of the twenty-first century, and discusses how they can become better equipped to capture the opportunities presented while mitigating the risks.

Delivering the benefits from public money equitably and effectively requires research and innovation both to be, and to be seen as, truly inclusive, geographically, socially and politically. A shift change is needed to achieve this: with admirable motives, publicly funded research systems across the world have become hypercompetitive, often with a focus on individual success at the expense of collaborative working.

Professor Leyser argues that true diversity – of people and ideas – is an essential component in delivering the high-quality, challenge-led and interdisciplinary research and innovation needed to address the global challenges of our time.

To emerge from these challenges as strongly as possible, Professor Leyser proposes that we should build and invest in integrated research systems through which people and ideas move freely, and where the whole is much more than the sum of its parts. It is through this lens that funding organisations such as UK Research and Innovation have the opportunity to connect exceptional research creativity and innovation with inclusive social and economic benefit.

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