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The science of economies

Your correspondent David Smith missed the point about the need for science graduates in a thriving economy (TES, August 19).

It is defeatist to say that our economy is to become nothing more than a "McJob world", because some manufacturing industries (such as the pharmaceutical sector, which manufactures drugs and other healthcare products) have grown at the same time as increasing the number of highly-skilled, well-trained scientists and engineers.

Even in a service economy, it remains true that companies that have a technological edge perform better than those that do not, and that scientific research invents the products and processes that give those companies that edge.

Falling numbers of students choosing to study science is a problem common to just about all the countries of the industrialised world, and the countries that successfully reverse the trend will be the ones with economies best placed to take advantage of new scientific and technological opportunities.

Dr Peter Cotgreave Director The Save British Science Society 29-30 Tavistock Square London WC1H

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