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How important is R&D?

David Edgerton argues that avoiding the naïve economics of Research and Development is essential to good policies for R&D.

One of the great problems we have with science and technology is that elite discussion (let alone public understanding) is based on sometimes dubious assumptions rather than on the basis of evidence. A good example is the underlying assumption that national R&D spending correlates with national rates of economic growth. It does not, as I will show. But this is not an argument for the unimportance of R&D. Rather it suggests that R&D must be thought about in less nationalistic ways, for which there are other compelling reasons. Avoiding the naïve economics of R&D is essential to good policies for R&D. At the same time we need to recognise more clearly that doing R&D is far from the only way of changing either the world, or the performance of the British economy.

David Edgerton is the Hans Rausing Professor at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Imperial College London


Professor David Edgerton | talks | www


Date and Time:

30 October 2007 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



The Research and Development Society
c/o The Royal Society
6-9 Carlton House Terrace
020 7451 2513

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£40, £20 members

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Visit http://www.rdsoc.org, email rdsociety@royalsoc.ac.uk or call 020 7451 2513.

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