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Govt: Offer prizes for better technologies

Comment 8th July 2010

Government doesn't do science very well – actually, extremely badly – but it knows what it wants. For instance, it wants cleaner vehicle engine with much higher fuel efficiencies. Government can't design them, but the private sector could – so why not set the goals, for this and renewable energy sources (among other nice-to-haves) and set the spec, offer a damned good prize of cash or grants or tax breaks, and let the inventive British get on with the job?

It could also introduce State protection – legal protection – for patent holders, many of whom fail to bring ideas to market because of the risk to their own homes and capital, and many of whom lose their patents because they can't afford to fight off the "big guys" who muscle in (remember the fight James Dyson had with Hoover and other companies who copied his typhoon vacuum cleaners? You've got to be wealthy to fight off those corporations).

If the Government sets a goal butt it isn't attained, nothing's lost. Otherwise it might be achieved, for all our benefits, or else there may be significant progress made along the way.

Let's give it a chance.

Why does this matter?

We need to spark and rekindle native British inventiveness. We have lost too much ground to America, Japan and China, and we need the means and inspiration to regenerate manufacturing in the UK.

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