back to article Tories promise medals not money for science and R&D

James Dyson's policy review for the Tory party calls for cultural changes to put science and engineering at the centre of British society. The vacuum cleaner maestro's review said: "We can't PR our way out of the financial black hole." But without money the review runs the danger of doing just that. It calls for "developing high …

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WTF?

Nice to see

dat inglish dont need any xtra mony

"The review suggests head teachers get more flexibility to pay science, maths and technology teachers more than other teachers."

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Amen

It's about time someone did something about engineering.

I guess the recent kick in the balls from the finance sector did have some benefit then.

Weird this should come from the Tories tho.....

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Boffin

Science and engineering needs far more help

I'm all for boosting the respect and profile of science and engineering as UK society (and media) has had a bad derogatory attitude to "geek" labeled scientists and engineers and this negative stereotype has gone on for decades, but they also need serious investment money as well. Some countries are far exceeding the UK in their support (and respect) of science and engineering.

If they need to ask why science and engineering should get far more investment they only need look at the Industrial Revolution because that was not created by politicians or greedy bankers, it was created by scientists and engineers. If we are to grow and prosper as a country we need serious investment and support in science and engineering, not just token efforts. They need to change their whole attitude to place science and engineering as central to the future of the UK, because who else is going to build that future other than scientists and engineers. Science and engineering is vitally important to the future prosperity of any country.

The question is how long is it going to take politicians of all parties to finally understand this!

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FAIL

Dyson?

Another offshore expert to advise the Tories.

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What the?

"James Dyson's policy review for the Tory party calls for cultural changes to put science and engineering at the centre of British society."

This is the same JD that "put engineering at the centre of British Society" by moving 865 jobs in 2003 from the UK to Malaysia.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2860995/Dyson-production-moves-to-Malaysia.html

All together now "Do as I say. Not as I do"

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WTF?

I'm with stupid

Yes, that's the one. Because outsourcing manufacturing is exactly the same as encouraging investment in science and innovation.

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Unhappy

Not only manufacturing

Originally when the first wave of manufacturing was sent overseas, James said that it was only *some* of the manufacturing, and the design and engineering jobs would always stay. (and it happened the day after a visit from the queen, would you believe it, and she still gave him a knighthood!).

Since then, all manufacturing has moved from the UK. Then slowly the engineering.

James still encourages investment in science and innovation, and gets tax credits for it to boot. However, the research company then sub-contracts the work to companies in Malaysia, China and India to do the actual work. Not sure on the number of people in India and China now, but the number in Malaysia is more than 2x the number in UK.

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Stop

Medals not money & more ?

I can believe Dyson would want to give medals rather than hard cash. Call it insider information.

As for higher regards for engineers and scientists, for it to benefit the UK, the higher regard needs to be for those working in the UK (Not Malaysia, China or India).

As for tax breaks for research. It needs to be ensured that the work is actually done in the UK, not done by a special UK "research" company, that just subcontracts the work to companies in Malaysia, China and India....

I'd put my name to this masterpiece, but I'm a coward.

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FAIL

Medals not money?

I suppose we have to expect this sort of idea from someone who's made a fortune out of things that suck.

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Troll

Whatever happened to the service economy?

Having done their level best to drive manufacturing into the ground during the '80s and early '90s the Tories finally realise that we can't just have an economy based on service industries? A little late but kudos to them for eventually realising that we need manufacturers. Of course they are only talking hi-tech industry here and there is no money up for grabs but at least its a step in the right direction.

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not making 'things'

Dyson and Cameron are misguided if they think that engineering based manufacture (such as Dyson) have any future here. There is no manufacturing base here as its been steady compromised. There is less and less incentive to set up costly product based businesses without a proven product.

Where they should be focusing in addition to science and engineering is tech based companies who use those skills. Knowledge based work is the only way the UK can compete with any of the cheap labour countries. No politician has ever got this, always harking back to the good ole days of manufacture using one of only a handful of product based companies to succeed in the UK in the last 10 years.

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Bronze badge

I seem to remember that...

Quite a lot of R & D Tax credits got used up by banks researching new and innovative mathematical formulas to hide bad risks, avoid tax and such, and look where that got us.

Still what would one expect from a country that values accountants over scientists. We used to have a saying in my University, "On leaving students either revert to normal human beings or become chartered accountants", the latter being the first choice of most science graduates as there's more money in being an accountant. In fact some engineering and geology students found it more lucrative to become brickkies and oil roustabouts than pursue their degree.

Giving someone a medal is just about par for a party that pampers the rich, who are mostly accountants. (Just to be fair and balanced my party is little better, and marginally in front of the other, Nick & Gordon).

Politicians like to cut science because none of them are cleaver enough to understand it and as it's difficult to measure success and claim it for themselves, they don't care.

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Anonymous Coward

"prizes for inventors and engineers"

Oh, hooray. So sucessful inventors and engineers (like famous vacuum cleaner merchants) might get more money and kudos, while the scientists (and less sucessful inventogineers starve). That'll help.

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If you slay all of the giants, who's shoulders are the entrepreneurs going to stand on?

It's ostensibly a good idea, but just amounts to more short-term ringfenced thinking like the Labour policy of cuts.

The vast majority of discoveries (for example those that lead up to a situation where the creation of a new invention is possible), result from "accidental" observations - i.e. Blue Sky research. Probably some of the most important examples of this include Flemings experiment getting contaminated leading to the discovery of Penicillin.

This is really an attempt to chreaply and quickly cash-in on innovation without really unerstanding the underlying principles and mechanisms of technological progress. Sure we could just invent without blue-sky research, but his is just what the Japanese did in the 1960's and 70's, took other peoples ideas and made money out of them.

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Flame

Get rid of Modern Universities!!

Britain used to produce the best engineers and technicians in the world, but they never went to Universities, they went to Polytechnics and Technology insitutes.

Polys and Tech institues used to turn out people who could actually do things and make things. Now all they do is turn out worthless degrees in watching Neighbours or reading Heat magazine (Media studies is the term they use).

It's obvious that we will never be able to compete at a manufacturing level with China and India because of the greately reduce labour costs. However we can compete with High end engineering and design if we have the right skilled people.

Look at the Formula 1 grid this weekend, It's no coincidence that more than 50% of the teams are based in the UK.

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Flame

Never believe a politician promising anything

they always manage to wriggle out of it...

Snout-in-the-trough, lying, thieving, cheating bastards!

I'm going to spoil my voting paper this General Election in protest, they're all shits.

/rant

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Anonymous Coward

Remember

A pat on the head costs nothing!

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Muttley crew

So kids, bankers, lawyers, accountants, TV presenters and the like all get paid large salaries. Engineers and scientists will continue to be paid much less but they will get medals. What do you want to be when you grow up?

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I'll innovate

for a lollipop.

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Terminator

This was predicted in 1991

Oh yeah. Genius. Dyson wants to talk to us about science and engineering policy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm pro-science and pro-technology. But Dyson created fucking Skynet. Why in all hell would we want him anywhere NEAR science, engineering or politics?

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Stop

Manufacturing /= engineering

So many comments confuse engineering with manufacturing. How many engineering jobs did Dyson offshore? Probably none - his engineers are still working in the UK designing new products, like his fancy fan, and upgrading existing ones.

The value-added is in the DESIGN folks (=engineering + industrial design) not in the manufacturing. When Dyson sells a vacuum cleaner for 300 quid, how much of that goes offshore? Very little, I'd say as these things cost peanuts to actually manufacture.

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Boffin

How many engineering jobs offshore?

I can't comment on the number of jobs that went to India and China, because I don't know the numbers in those countries.

However the number of engineers and technicians in the UK has just about halved recently through a number of redundances and encouraging people to work elsewhere.

In Malaysia, the number of engineers is now more than 2x the number in the UK.

Anon again because I'm still a coward.

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re Manufacturing /= engineering

Absolutely agree! Engineers don't necessarily have dirty fingernails ( well at least not from their work, perhaps from their hobbies?)

We desperately need to raise the profile of science/engineering in UK - boy have I had some arguments with my daughter (English Lit final year degree student) over this - it makes my blood biol that every schoolkid is taught about twats like Keats & Shelley, yet none of them know about people like Maudsley & Whitworth who actually contributed to what we are today!

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Stop

Dyson really does suck

Letting business into the academic lab is what screwed up academic things in the first place. The conglomerate business boys weren't satisfied with buying and stripping goods-producing corporations of their "unprofitable" R&D branches because they didn't enhance quarterly return-on-investment, they had to buy their way into academia and strip it of its tax-payer paid better players on the cheap and institutional integrity with it. Basic research was all but eliminated except on the grand-project scale where there were bucks to be passed and made on the enterprise.

Now that Anglo-American research is all but destroyed, the fact that the douche-bag thinks that offerings of shiny beads and such can bring it back is just a measure of how clueless he is as to why scientists do what they do. As Feynman said, it's like sex. It may have a practical result, but that's not why we do it. Additionally, regarding awards and such, Feynman was one of their chief debunkers.

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