Britain to Research Knowledge Economy

Exchequer Chancellor Gordon Brown is backing a three-year plan to figure out how to make the concept pay real dollars

A three-year, £1.5m project backed by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown hopes to identify how countries can use the 'knowledge economy' to spearhead economic growth and competitiveness.

The project, run by not-for-profit organisation The Work Foundation, will look at issues such as what the impact of the knowledge economy implies for work, employment and welfare, building the right framework for R&D and innovation, and how intellectual property rights should be protected.

The leader of the programme, Ian Brinkley said the phrase 'knowledge economy' has been knocking around since the late 1960s - but no one is quite sure what it means.

He said in a statement: "Sometimes, it is used to reflect the fact that the British economy no longer revolves around the production of solid objects, like cars or coal, any more; at other times, it captures a feeling that higher education qualifications are now a mass commodity; and sometimes, it is used to note that many people now spend their days tapping at computers and talking to each other."

The Chancellor added in a statement: "Britain can be one of the great global success stories in the coming age but only if we establish ourselves as a world leader in knowledge, science and skills.

"This exciting and important project will identify the ways in which the knowledge economy can boost the performance of the British economy and the steps we must take in the years to come to become the leading location in the world for knowledge-based industries."

The project is sponsored by nine different organisations, including the BBC, the Department of Health, Microsoft and Rolls Royce.

Separately, tomorrow will see the launch of 'Work Wise UK', a three-year campaign to encourage widespread adoption of smarter working practices, such as flexible working, remote working and working from home.

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