Science in Service Sector Innovation
The UK’s Royal Society has recently published the findings of a major study on the role of science in services sector innovation. Entitled “Hidden Wealth: the contribution of science to service sector innovation”, the report highlights the wider significance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to the services sector, which makes up around three quarters of the UK economy.
Professor David Rhind, who chaired the Royal Society’s report’s working group said: “The service sector generates between half and three quarters of the world’s wealth and accounts for over eighty percent of employment in the UK. Despite this, little research has been done into how innovation, which drives the expansion of the service sector, develops. The Royal Society report identifies science, and related subjects, as startlingly significant in this development, which is intrinsically linked to the growth of the UK economy in the future and our emergence from recession.”
The report details a raft of measures that would improve and assist the development of the UK service sector and innovation, considering in particular the public and banking sectors. Some key recommendations included:
- Research communities and agendas for the service sector should be built and supported
- Multi-disciplinary training should be developed in Higher Education institutions alongside more service sector placements to ensure relevant multi-disciplinary capabilities are acquired by STEM-trained personnel
- The scale of knowledge exchange between service organisations and public science base should be greatly increased
- Understanding of innovation in the service sector and the role of STEM should be improved