Chief scientist Sir Robert May hopes the new Labour government will provide more funding in technology. Speaking at the UK/US Partners in Technology conference in California, he criticised former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke over his budget.
Based on the ratio of submitted papers to science and technology spending, May claimed: "In value for money in science spending, the UK is first. But we spend less on science, so when the Chancellor said in his budget that he is trying to keep science-based research strong, I said: 'You are trying to keep the denominator small.'"
There is a role the new government can play in science and technology, May said. "The role is for the government to provide seed money in new kinds of initiatives and near-market [opportunities]."
During keynote speeches at the Silicon Valley conference, May also revealed a series of figures to highlight the UK's competence in technology, while Oracle president Ray Lane and Gateway chief executive Ted Waitt plugged their own companies, offering little guidance on trans-Atlantic IT deals.
Although Lane said he had only just returned from the UK where he signed a joint venture deal to remarket systems with an oil company, it was left to fellow speaker Prince Andrew to point out that the UK leads the world in entertainment software and virtual reality.
Lane hopes cheaper computers, which are available to all, will allow educators to become as famous as pop stars and he said the NC is likely to help that happen. "Imagine the possibilities in education - it?s an opportunity to end the decline in education. Our children will learn through self-discovery rather than the preach and memorise method we had."
Waitt's only references to the UK were to say it has accepted direct sales to a greater extent than the US, and that the UK is the company?s biggest market after the US. Otherwise, he discussed the success of Gateway?s direct sales approach. On the NC, Waitt said: "We believe in the corporate market we will see a thinning of the client. But consumers will need more processing power, storage and audio."
Another speaker, California state governor Pete Wilson, did not even stay to listen to the rest of the keynote speeches.
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