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Innovation Economics: Growth and Living Standards in a Global Economy

  • Date(s)
    3 April 2013
  • Time
    12.30 - 14.00
  • Location
Innovation Economics: Growth and Living Standards in a Global Economy

Policy Network will host a lunchtime debate on "Innovation Economics: Growth and Living Standards in a Global Economy" on Wednesday 3rd April 2013.

The debate will be led by Robert Atkinson president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Washington D.C. and author of 'Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage', with response from Will Hutton, principal of Hertford College, University of Oxford and chair of the Big Innovation Centre at The Work Foundation.

Substantial economic growth is the elusive goal which the Conservative government have struggled to attain. Indeed austerity measures have seen UK growth rates stalled at 0.2% for 2012 and a predicted 0.9% for 2013.

A key driver behind this is the lack of R&D spending which is leaving the UK at a disadvantage in a global economy where innovation matters more than ever to a nation’s standard of living. A recent OECD report showed that UK ranks lowest out of all OECD nations in providing R&D support to firms. The report summarised that the UK ‘may find it difficult to take a leading role in the next product innovation cycle’. The need for investment in innovation and research has never been more evident. 

In his new book ‘Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage’, Dr.Robert Atkinson explains that growth in the modern world depends on the ability to create new products, services, processes, or ways of doing business. He stresses that having a robust innovation policy and competitiveness policy is crucial. In outlining how the US should respond to this problem, he provides policy recommendations which would be very useful in the UK and in Europe. Among these are making innovation-based competitiveness a national priority, investing in innovation and productivity and promoting institutional innovation.

At a European level the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy has focused growth as its main goal and has aimed for 3% of EU GDP to be spent on R&D. If the UK and the EU are to return to economic growth they must regain leadership in the innovation race. The current unrelenting wave of austerity is preventing growth from occurring and will further hinder countries in the long run. This event will help to outline and frame the policy challenges which are faced on the road back to growth through innovation.

•    Why have the US and UK fallen behind in the innovation race and what should be done about it?
•    What policy framework can best support an innovation system leading to a high and sustainable growth?
•    How can progressives develop the potential of new technology and innovation while making sure the benefits and opportunities are widely disbursed?
•    To what extent has the EU taken its focus off the Europe 2020 goals and how is future growth affected by this?

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