David Willetts ‘should take on Design Minister role’

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts should take on the role of Minister for Design, according to Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic.

University and Science minister David Willetts
University and Science minister David Willetts

In an event organised by The Design Museum and The Science Museum, Willetts was engaged in a live debate focusing on the critical link between science and design and the need for greater collaboration in ‘a third Industrial Revolution’ – the developing age which sees technologies like 3D printing allowing small startups to design and manufacturer.

The debate saw Willetts travel between the Design Museum and the Science Museum joining a panel at both locations.

Director of the Design Museum Deyan Sudjic has put forward two recommendations. One is that ‘at the education level’ the Minister for Universities and Science, (Willetts) ‘take on the responsibility of being an acting Minister for Design, advocating the place of design in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – subjects.’ 

In a second recommendation he said, ‘At the other end of the spectrum, we need greater collaboration across Government departments, institutions, and museums to help stimulate the UK economy.’

Meanwhile David Bott, director of innovation programmes at the Technology Strategy Board, made recommendations on behalf of the Science Museum including, ‘The need to break down language barriers and come up with new ways of expression to encourage interaction between scientists, engineers and designers.’

Bott also wants Willetts to celebrate the success of joint working between design and science and to communicate that great results look like ‘great products and services that people remember and buy’.

Bott made a third recommendation, which is heavily backed by sponsors The Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council that Government needs to fund collaboration ‘so that it becomes more commonplace and established, and goes on to power the next Industrial Revolution’.

Willetts says, ‘Combining science and design is vital as the UK positions itself as a world leader for developing new innovations to stay ahead in the global race.

I recognise the important need for these two communities to collaborate more and push forward the exciting new Industrial Revolution in technology.’

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