The UK needs to double its aid spending on research and development to help it become a world leader in emerging technologies in agriculture, government technology, medicine and transport. In its Global Britain, Global Solutions report Policy Exchange argues that there are substantial research gaps and neglected areas, with health the most promising category.
R&D is relatively neglected by the rest of the international development community, presents high returns compared to other forms of intervention and, given the strength of Britain’s science base, the UK is well-placed to take full advantage of greater spending.
Policy Exchange asked the Copenhagen Consensus Center to use its network of leading economists to identify the best R&D options available to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and says among the most effective suggestions, were:
/ Developing affordable treatment for asthma as inhalers remain expensive and generally unaffordable in developing countries
/ Cheaper home monitoring and drug delivery for HIV/AIDs to reduce the need for regular medical visits and for repeat prescriptions.
/ Developing a long-acting reversible contraceptive to provide greater control over child bearing, as well as improve women’s empowerment, labour market participation and health
Expanding the potential for irrigation in Sub-Saharan Africa. SubSaharan Africa
/ Creating a system to tackle mis-invoicing in trade transactions using big data.
Image: Policy Exchange