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CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn speaks at Royal Society
Carolyn Fairbairn recently (12 February 2019) outlined how our education system needs to adapt in a changing world.
Thank you very much, Venki, it’s great to be here.
And, frankly, great for once to have an excuse not to talk about Brexit…much.
Instead, this morning I want to talk about:
- Why, from a business view, the Royal Society is right to call for a review of post-16 education.
- How – as so often – business and science have from different perspectives arrived at many of the same conclusions.
- And, above all, the deep connection that exists between enquiry – that is, the art of finding out - and enterprise – the art of business - and how that connection must and can be renewed
Last month, the historian Adrian Tinniswood published a brilliant book about the Royal Society.
The book traces the Royal Society’s origins in Restoration Britain.
And explains how at a moment of national upheaval…
…some of the greatest minds of the age came together to pursue a new kind of knowledge.
It was an approach to uncovering truth not through dogma, diktat or decree.
But through experience, experiment and free enquiry.
It was the beginnings of the modern scientific method.
Yet as Tinniswood’s book records:
“This wasn’t merely a desire to acquire knowledge for its own sake…
“…The founders of the Royal Society were moved by the conviction that improvement of knowledge would lead to improvements in trade, commerce and manufacture.”
And they were right.
Royal Society support for new navigational tools made possible the growth of global trade in the 18th Century.
That relation between knowledge and commerce is just as strong today.
The Royal Society’s Entrepreneurs in Residence scheme, for instance.
It matches business people with cutting-edge industrial science, research and innovation.
And the relationship is not just one-way.
One of our members, Tata, is today investing millions in a Royal Society project to develop young scientists.
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