CaSE’s new policy intern, Tasqeen Ahmed, reflects on her first two months and details CaSE’s new project on place-based research policy
My ‘Place’ at CaSE
06 Jun 2019
I’ve joined CaSE for 6 months on secondment from the Science and Engineering Fast Stream – an accelerated leadership development programme in the Civil Service. Having worked in large government departments and teams previously, I welcomed the chance to work in a smaller team dedicated to a common cause, with a plethora of opportunities to get involved in various functions of the organisation.
In the last 2 months, I’ve met a range of interesting people across academia, industry and government, which has given me a real flavour of UK science and innovation and how these different organisations are working together to achieve a shared goal. The running theme I’ve come across from working with my colleagues at CaSE and meeting our members and stakeholders across the sector is the sheer dedication in ensuring science and engineering remain at the forefront of government policy. It has also been brilliant to see the willingness of our members in supporting CaSE events and projects – due credit to CaSE colleagues who have built such strong and meaningful connections!
During my time at CaSE, my policy focus will mainly be geared towards understanding how local economic impacts of R&D investment can be maximised and the different policy interventions that will be required to achieve this. We recognise that regions across the UK have demonstrated excellence in R&D, from distinctive strengths in transport innovation in the West Midlands to leadership in the life sciences in the Liverpool City Region. Harnessing different local strengths, or existing local capacity for research, will be vital in unlocking the potential of every region to support local growth and indeed the UK in becoming a more research-intensive nation. The government’s Industrial Strategy sets to directly tackle these differences through the ‘place’ agenda to ensure communities can prosper across the UK.
Strong evidence will be essential to inform policymaking and ensure that a place-based approach to research funding will in fact deliver the intended outcomes. As such, building on our programme of work on the UK Government’s ambition to increase research intensity, CaSE is now developing an evidence base about place-based regional R&D investment and local economic growth. Through our wide-ranging membership spread across the UK, we will be initiating a series of discussions to bring together representatives from academia, industry and local government to review areas such as the enablers and barriers of commercialisation of research, the structure of partnerships between organisations and the opportunities that R&D investment could bring for the local economy.
We welcome the government’s aim to focus greater attention on ‘places’ and with the drive to increase UK research intensity on our minds, we hope that CaSE’s contribution to the evidence base will support policymakers in building a more productive and prosperous nation.
All in all, I look forward to the remainder of my time at CaSE and already know that I will be able to take back a wealth of experience and lessons to the Civil Service.
A General Election year presents a real opportunity for the R&D sector to make our voices heard.
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Executive Director Professor Sarah Main gives her report on CaSE’s activities and successes at the 2022 AGM on 15th November.