As a member of the UK's Council for Science and Technology, Innogen Institute co-director Joyce Tait was a key contributor to its recent initiative to promote a regulatory landscape that is more proportionate and adaptive to the needs of emerging technologies.
The Council for Science and Technology's letter to the Prime Minister on reforming the governance of technological innovation along with the response from the Business Secretary Greg Clark have just been published on the Government's website:
In the letter, the Council for Science and Technology highlight the opportunity for Government to develop further its approach to regulation of innovative technologies and make four recommendations to promote investment and maximise the economic and societal benefits of technological advances.
As a result of the recommendation to bring 'foresight thinking' into the strategic planning activities of regulators and their sponsors in Government, UK Research and lnnovation and the Government Office for Science will collaborate with the Better Regulation Executive to establish a strategic horizon-scanning function that will help regulators keep pace with the advances in science and technology and their broad regulatory implications.
In response to the recommendation to integrate the development of guidance, codes of practice, standards and formal regulation to make the governance process more accessible, more flexible and faster, the Better Regulation Executive will be working with the newly-established Office for Product Safety and Standards and bodies such as the British Standards lnstitution and the National Physical Laboratory to examine how regulation, standards and related tools should be designed to best enable innovation.
Other related actions include providing a 'one-stop-shop' for regulatory enquiries for innovators and investors, setting up an innovation network for regulators to promote faster adoption of best practice across the regulatory landscape, and the recently launched Regulators' Pioneer Fund to support the development of innovative approaches to get new products and services to markets.
A cross-government Ministerial Working Group on Future Regulation including Dr Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Advisor, will be overseeing the implementation of these initiatives.
"It is really pleasing to see these important outcomes arising from Innogen's research - the initiative was strongly influenced by our project on Proportionate and Adaptive Governance of Innovative Technologies (PAGIT) also involving Geoff Banda and Andrew Watkins"
Prof. Joyce Tait, Innogen Institute co-director, the University of Edinburgh
"Professor Tait's contribution to the Council of Science and Technology's letter to the Prime Minister takes forward the Innogen perspective of the importance of regulation in shaping the right balance between stability and adaptation to technological change"
Prof. Theo Papaioannou, Innogen Institute director, The Open University