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The potential of physics

Physics will continue to transform our world in the coming years. A new wave of technological innovation is about to break. Emerging technologies, enabled by UK physicists’ breakthroughs in fields such as materials science and quantum physics, promise to radically transform the way we live and work, and create new business opportunities and open up new markets. 

But the UK’s ability to harness the benefits of this new industrial era, and respond effectively to the challenges facing society, depends on an effective physics research and development (R&D) system. The UK’s R&D system already produces world-class physics research and innovation, but we have yet to truly unlock the full potential of physics R&D – through fostering new discoveries, catalysing private sector innovation, unleashing people’s ingenuity and developing world-class infrastructure.  

Changes are needed so that each of the core pillars of the physics R&D system – discovery, business innovation, people and infrastructure – is providing the support needed to drive a step change in the performance of the UK’s R&D system. In some areas, relatively minor adjustments can make a significant difference; in other areas, more radical reform is needed to build a thriving physics R&D system. 

By making these changes, we can unlock the full potential of physics R&D and deliver transformative benefits to our society, namely: 

  1. Global leadership in science and innovation 
  2. Increased economic growth  
  3. Improved wellbeing and living standards
  4. Accelerated transition to a green economy  

Physics: Investing in our future - powering the new industrial revolution

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