Letters to the Editor - 17/03 - Science startups, Best of Twitter

Science startups

[Re: Why Britain’s scientists are failing at business, Friday]
Tim Farron is right to highlight some of the challenges facing all entrepreneurs in this country, but the idea that Britain’s scientific community is failing at business is simply not accurate. Reports estimate that UK universities produced more than 3,000 companies in 2011. And the combined turnover of companies originating from universities now exceeds £2.5bn, providing employment for more than 30,000 staff. UK universities have demonstrated that we are much more cost-effective at starting companies than those in US. There is much we can learn from our US colleagues about fostering a greater culture of entrepreneurship and risk taking. But it is for policy makers, politicians, universities and financiers to work together to provide the necessary ingredients for them to thrive: capital, labs and, perhaps most importantly, a can-do attitude.

Professor Stephen Caddick, vice provost, UCL

If Tim Farron truly supports UK scientific research, he must push for a reversal of the outrageous restrictions on student visas. Applications have fallen by 29 per cent since 2010, and this is sure to impact on the success of our universities.

Mary Howell

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