Idea 8: a Chief Technology Officer for every LEP region

I've already said that I throughly back Yvette Cooper's call for Britain to set a target of 3% of GDP to be invested in R&D annually. This would be double current spending and if current levels of productivity and excellence could be maintained then it would be truly transformational for our economy, setting us on a path to being the world leading place for innovation, allowing us to once again lead the world instead of follow in the trails blazed by others.  

We shouldn't get too downhearted though. London recently came out 2nd in a list of best cities for innovation (https://futurecities.catapult.org.uk/news-template/-/asset_publisher/Qw0bKmomFN4q/content/benchmarking-innovation-policy-in-cities/)

The main reason London didn't pip New York for the top spot was because it lacks of a dedicated 'Chief Technology Officer' - a role the report cites as having been 'incredibly successful in other cities'. The report also highlights Barcelona as an example of a smaller city that can be as successful as larger rivals.  

Its with this in mind that I would argue that Labour should include 4 key elements in its policy on science and innovation at the next election:

1. Maintain the 2015 manifesto pledge to bring security to innovation investment by introducing a 10-year framework for science spending that clearly sets out priorities and gives confidence to universities and businesses that science spending policies and incentives won't chop and change every year in the Budget 

2. Set a national goal of acheiving 3% of GDP spent on R&D by 2030 at the latest ideally much before  

3. Building on the Catapult Network - networks of centres (started by Labour) that bring together universities and business to work on cutting edge ideas that can be commercialised - by continuing investment in new Centres and expanding their remit, as suggested in the recent Hauser Review, to look at building relations with the finance industry to help secure private investment in research in new areas and develop Degree Apprenticeship routes into emerging career paths.

4. Introduce a 'Chief Technology Officer' or 'Chief Innovation Officer' for every Local Enterprise Partnership region of England with a remit to ensure the region is doing its utmost to make itself attractive to inward investment in R&D-intensive industries.