Collaboration is key: Greg Clark MP on science, policymaking and Imperial

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Greg Clark MP in conversation with Professor Mary Ryan

Imperial Policy Forum welcomed Greg Clark MP, Chair of the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, in conversation with Professor Mary Ryan.

Professor Mary Ryan, Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) spoke with Mr Clark about his role as Chair of the committee, recent inquiries and opportunities for researchers to engage in policymaking. 

The event was the latest in the Science and Policymaking speaker series organised by Imperial Policy Forum. The series is open to Imperial staff, students and alumni and features inspiring and influential speakers from organisations and backgrounds that cross the boundary between public policy and research.

Mr Clark engaged in a lively discussion, answering questions from Professor Ryan, and members of the audience. The conversation focused on various aspects of science and policy, the research ecosystem in the UK, and the crucial role universities can play in addressing the national productivity challenge. 

Science and policy 

In his opening remarks, Greg Clark highlighted the significant contributions Imperial has made to the world of policy-making over the years. Drawing on his time as Chair of the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, he highlighted his frequent engagements with researchers from the Imperial community. He emphasised the need for science to occupy a more prominent place in public discourse. Mr Clark also felt that recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic had amplified the role of science as a contributor to policy decisions, and heightened public interest in scientific insights. 

Industrial Strategies 

The discussion then shifted towards the topic of industrial strategies. Reflecting on his role as Business Secretary and his leadership in developing an industrial strategy in 2017, he noted that such strategies offer a platform for governments to address national challenges and signal priorities to stakeholders effectively. Such challenges require alignment of R&D efforts and public funding with strategic objectives. 

Mr Clark stated that he did not believe the notion that research funding is a zero-sum game, and that by empowering universities across the country benefits the whole sector by broadening the research ecosystem. He stressed the pivotal role of universities as economic institutions within their local communities, both as employers and broader economic and social impacts. 

Opportunities to engage in policy 

Mr Clark encouraged researchers to share ideas for future inquiry topics and outlined opportunities available for early career researchers interested in working more closely with policymakers. This includes secondments to parliamentary select committee staff and opportunities in the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology.


Ines Wittke

Ines Wittke
Office of the President

Craig Whittall

Craig Whittall
Office of the President

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6595

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