The Queen opened Parliament on 18 May, announcing a range of reforms to prisons, universities, adoption and the care system. Nicola has welcomed the raft of measures announced; promoting home ownership, improving infrastructure to support economic growth and making the UK a world leader in the digital economy.
Nicola gave a speech to the House to welcome the Bills announced in the Gracious Speech which support science and innovation, namely the Higher Education and Research Bill, the Digital Economy Bill, the Education for All Bill and the Modern Transport Bill. The Science and Technology Committee has been focusing on many of these issues recently, shortly to publish its report in to Space & Satellites, and about to begin an inquiry in to Artificial Intelligence and Robotics which is looking at regulation of driverless cars.
Nicola stressed the need to ensure investment in our digital infrastructure is matched by a focus on digital skills, another area being examined by her Committee. The Committee have been clear that the digital skills crisis must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
There is much detail to be debated in these Bills but Nicola has been clear that a key priority of these reforms must be to protect – and indeed supercharge – the health and vibrancy of of world leading science and innovation ecosystem.
To read Nicola’s speech in full, click here.
Nicola says: For research intensive areas like Oxford the important emphasis on science and innovation in the Queen’s speech should be transformative. We have long had a Chancellor who has prioritised Science and Innovation spending, even in times of austerity, because he has recognised that our science and innovation budget is a strategic national investment not a state subsidy. Now we have a major programme of cross-Government reform to match that ambition.
We should not underestimate the scale of these reforms, and as these Bills progress through Parliament they will rightly come under close scrutiny. I look forward to hearing further details on how we will maximise their potential going forward.