Taking a long term view

I was at two very different talks last week. The first, Priorities for medical research in the United Kingdom, given at the University of Exeter by Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the last in their Shaping the Future series. Much of it well over my head, but a fascinating hour and 20 minutes looking at key issues in medical research, now and in the future. One interesting point: Borysiewicz stressed the need for researchers and research institutes to build their relationships with the wealth creation sector.

I came away feeling that this was an area which had been well and truly gripped- and that in the long term, which is what medical research is inevitably about, we are going to be well served.

The second had a rather more immediate subject. This was a valedictory presentation by Peter Gripiaos to the Devon & Cornwall Business Council on The South West – The credit crunch and the real economy. It was a sobering 20 minutes: not very much good news, for any part of the Region, and an interesting counterpoint to the South West  RDA’s What Now, its updated plans for 2009 – 2011.

Gripiaos asked ‘So are we out of the woods?’. His view is no (“the signs of recovery are conflicting”) and his answer to ‘So what can be done?’ is just as stark:

  • We are in the realm of psychology now and the recession needs to run its course.
  • SWERDA and local authorities have little money and not much leverage.
  • Many businesses need to fail.
  • Businesses and consumers need to learn a harsh lesson.
  • So do politicians.
  • We should focus on long term strategic interventions rather than short term fire-fighting.

As for the last of those bullet points, that too was the thrust of Borysiewicz’s talk.

It makes for interesting scenario planning.