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Our genius, as a nation, has been to ensure liberty under the law, to allow entrepreneurs to pilot and trial new ideas in a secure research and innovation environment, to allow risk to be properly rewarded. In the past, business was generally seen as a powerful force for good, generating the growth which pays for a civilised society and powering the innovations that make our lives better. But capitalism may have to be modernised so that it behaves more humanely, ceasing the exploitation of the lower-skilled and vulnerable. Let us further harness our remarkable capacity for invention, adaptation, and cooperation. When considerately deployed, it will create practical remedies for the shortcomings in today’s world. We are gradually moving from an industrial age economy to a knowledge-based, digital, and virtual economy, less exploitative of the Earth’s finite raw materials. In the future, challenging opportunities for scientists and engineers appear more likely in, for example, electronics and life sciences, particularly pharmaceutical research, genomics, and ecology. We have some world-beating universities, research institutes, teaching hospitals, academic and professional bodies and journals. Our rich cultural heritage, political and legal systems facilitate free thought and expressive individualism. Our schools encourage children to grow with enquiring minds, providing the great British scientists and engineers of the future. This nation has never suited modest ambitions, and there is no reason why we should not dream big again. By further unlocking a global UK innovation economy, advances in science and technology will take us to new levels of modernity. Patriotism, pride in our past, and ambition for that future should be the clarion call for us all. We should be neither reliant on past glories nor frightened of a bright, imaginative future. Many of the various obstacles facing us in the future will be solved, not by politicians or cynics, but by remarkable scientists and engineers with support from the public.
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- Looking Forward to Challenges and Opportunities
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