Over the coming months, Nesta will be exploring how innovation can help create a resilient and inclusive economy post COVID-19, and the windows of opportunity for lasting change.
Building on their recent report The Missing £4 Billion Nesta’s present proposals for how innovation policy can become more place sensitive, more focused on spreading innovation to the wider economy and more prepared to steer innovation for the public benefit.
The Innovation After Lockdown report and summary argues that for that extra funding to be felt, it needs to be directed towards addressing the UK’s stark and worsening regional inequalities and building the productivity and resilience of key parts of the economy. This should include vital but struggling sectors like social care.
As well as a strong moral case for supporting people and places that have been worst hit by the pandemic, the report finds that policies to spread innovation and its benefits more widely will lead to an economy that is stronger and better placed to weather future shocks. Fostering innovation and raising productivity in foundational sectors, like housing, education, health and social care, could help them better adapt to unforeseen disruptions. Given that such sectors account for around 40 per cent of the workforce, this could have a significant positive impact on the UK economy – and on the living standards of millions of key workers.
Nesta argues that policymakers need to make several practical changes to how innovation is nurtured, funded and regulated.
In practice this means:
- A new settlement for frontline workers and sectors, funding innovation to improve pay and resilience in those parts of the economy, such as care, retail and hospitality, that have been hardest hit in the struggle against COVID-19.
- A far greater focus on building innovation capacity across the country, including devolving a significant proportion of public R&D funding to the nations, regions and cities of the UK as part of new Deals for Innovation-Led Recovery.
- A more proactive approach to guiding innovation in the public interest.
A recording of the webinar is now available to view online.
read the Executive Summary and full Report here.