ICI Exhibition Booklet - Flipbook - Page 4
The role of science and innovation in post-Brexit UK
7 December 2016
5pm: A celebration of the 90th anniversary of ICI, exhibition
6.30pm: The role of science and innovation in post-Brexit UK
A panel debate chaired by Paul Drechsler, President of CBI
Ian Shott, CBE, Managing Director Shott Trinova
Prof Ian Noble, Senior R&D Director, Mondelez
Sharon Todd, Executive Director, SCI
8pm: ICI Exhibition and reception
Paul Drechsler CBE, President of CBI, chaired a panel debate with leading industrialists Ian Noble, Ian Shott, and Sharon
Todd, and more than 130 delegates from industry to discuss the UK’s Industrial Strategy and celebrate the 90th anniversary
of ICI, the former British company that filed more than 33,000 patents and helped create the pharmaceutical, agriscience,
and materials sectors.
The celebration of ICI’s work meant much of the focus was on how science and innovation have previously contributed
to the industrial success of the UK and how they could again in the future.
Paul Drechsler spoke about ICI and its history of successful innovation before commenting on the challenges and
opportunities presented by the UK’s vote to leave the EU. He welcomed the government’s commitment to increase
spending on R&D but called for it to be raised further to 3% of GDP by 2025.
Sharon Todd, Executive Director of SCI spoke next, asserting the need to strategically rebalance the UK economy away
from its reliance on services and showing how the UK had fallen behind in markets such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals,
while those same markets had grown globally. The government’s Industrial Strategy, she argued, needed to be longterm, have a focus on step-change technologies and commercialising science, and improving the public appreciation of
applied science and industry.
Ian Noble, Senior R&D Director at Mondelez and formerly of Unilever, discussed leadership and recruitment of the best
people, both now and in the future, saying, ‘We have to aspire to lead and deliver on leadership’.
He was followed by Ian Shott, Managing Partner of Shott Trinova LLP and heavily involved in both Innovate UK and the
Chemistry Growth Partnership, who echoed many of the previous comments. He spoke with concern about the rhetoric
used by the media and many of government officials but also noted that government was listening to industry bodies;
a positive step.
The discussion was then opened to the floor. The UK’s poor productivity had been highlighted as an issue earlier in the
debate and a question was raised as to the causes – could poor management and consequent lack of productivity be
to blame? Ian Noble responded that, in his experience, it could be but also highlighted underinvestment as a problem.
The next question was, ‘Could we add a services element to the chemical industry?’ and both Ian Shott and Sharon Todd
responded enthusiastically to the suggestion, saying we needed to think globally and radically about such an option.
There was a call for help from the trade associations and Steve Elliott, CEO of the Chemical
Industries Association, spoke about the work they are doing and assured the audience they would
be doing more. Paul Drechsler commented that we haven’t been having the right conversations
about Europe for 40 years but said he felt confident we are now and that, across Europe,
businesses had common objectives that governments must be made to understand.