City listens to science voices

October 6, 1995

The Royal Society and the information technology community are trying to encourage collaboration between scientists, technologists and the City.

In a lecture marking the launch of the initiative last week, Sir Brian Jenkins, Master of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, said that an understanding of the impact of rapid advances in science, engineering and technology on the making of products and the way they are bought and sold is becoming essential for making sound financial decisions in the City.

"Fund managers have to work harder to understand the prospects for the businesses they invest in, almost all of which are affected in one way or another by rapid changes in science, engineering and technology. Therefore to make reliable investment decisions, investors have to develop a sound understanding of the effects of science, engineering and technology on the businesses in which they invest," he said.

Dialogue between investors and companies could be enhanced by a complementary dialogue, called the City Science Dialogue, between scientists and investors.

Activities being planned by the Royal Society and the WCIT include seminars, the first hosted by Lloyds Bank, focusing on trends in particular areas of science, engineering and technology.

Topics currently being considered include transport, IT, electronics, telecommunications, chemicals and materials.

Sir Brian said that scientists and investors could also collaborate on research projects and studies. An example is a meeting planned next summer by the Royal Society and the Institute of Actuaries to discuss genetic screening and its impact on the insurance industry.

Actuaries, and planners and decision makers in life insurance, will meet scientists from the research fields of applied mathematics, epidemiology and demography to consider, for example, how genetic analysis could be used to identify potential morbidity and mortality in groups and individuals.

He said that "the overall purpose would be to promote and present scientists and investors as natural partners". In the long term, centres of excellence - real and virtual - could be established to promote the City Science Dialogue, adding to those already existing and recognised in the City.

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