Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.

Back Tangible Technology Not Web Fads, says Dyson

The government should be backing ‘tangible technology’ rather than ‘web fads’ like internet projects and games development, says Sir James Dyson.

“There seems to be an obsession with Shoreditch’s so-called ‘Silicon roundabout’,” says Dyson.


Dyson slams paltry salaries for post-graduate research, calling 7k salaries ‘insulting’ and suggesting that engineering post grads should be paid 30k to incentivise them to engage in research.


Dyson says the government must recommit itself to engineering and science education and seek to create clusters of engineering SMEs.


Britain must have the world’s brightest engineers, says Dyson.

Tags: games development, grads, obsession, post graduate, science education

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  1. David Manners
    January 15, 2013 18:02

    That all sounds pretty much spot on correct, Lefty

  2. Lefty Goldblatt
    January 15, 2013 16:28

    Presumably Silicon roundabout is for ex city whizz-kids trying to “do something real with their life”.
    Poor dears have burnt themselves out peddling financial mayhem and want to get back to creating something.
    It does not matter a damn if the business makes sense – its just to feel less of a vulture like they were in earlier days.
    They sleep better at night knowing they are “giving something back!” by creating some online virtual cobblers.
    And Dyson build cleaners for gods sake. He is a nother scam merchant.

  3. marcus
    January 10, 2013 23:11

    Nevertheless, Dyson has a point that the UK engineering research and Universities post-graduate opportunities and funding are nowhere near the US levels and electronics and microelectronics in the UK do not attract top bright students.

  4. January 10, 2013 10:23

    Hmmm, “Web fads vs tangible technology” sounds suspiciously old fashioned. The .com bust is behind us. Facebook might have started as a fad, but has curiously emerged as an integral part of the daily lives for millions of people. Prior to that, youtube started as fad too, before the founders made good with over $1B. Angry birds has its founders laughing all the way to the bank. All this said, one can quote hundreds of examples to the contrary – the have-been web fads that have silently or even infamously disappeared.
    Given the above, terming a “trending” web app/service/whatever as a “fad” can be stupid if not dangerous unless sufficient due-diligence is done.
    As a (very risky, politically incorrect!) side note, people who did not use a mobile phone before their 30th birthday need not indulge personally in such due diligence exercises :-)

  5. SecretEuroPatentAgentMan
    January 10, 2013 06:36

    Speaking of British games, “Elite: Dangerous” just got funded on Kickstarter.
    I am sure many here still remember the exclamation: “Right on, commander!”

  6. David Manners
    January 09, 2013 16:18

    Well I wonder could he be thinking of the stipends paid to graduate students whoengage in research, Fred?

  7. Fred Dart
    January 09, 2013 15:06

    > £7k? Where does he get that from?
    His own company salary database perhaps ;-)

  8. Mike Bryant
    January 08, 2013 19:20

    Quite correct Storriefit. Many post-docs I know are on £35k-ish.
    Also the UK software industry creates far more jobs than all our other engineering activities put together.
    Indeed the games industry has to be one of the UK’s all-time successes with probably 5 of the top 10 games of all time from the UK or at least from Brits based in California.
    Dyson generally sees things well but this is a very out of character comment which may just have been misquoted by the press (not an unusual occurance).

  9. Stooriefit
    January 08, 2013 18:45

    £7k? Where does he get that from?
    If you are doing an EPSRC funded PhD the basic stipend for this year is £13,590. Oh, and it is gross, tax free and no NI to pay. You won’t have to pay council tax, and I think you can do up to 6 hours paid demonstrating work or similar per week on top of that.
    If you do an engineering PhD you will very likely get sponsored and your stipend bumped up by a company, to somewhere in the region of £16k. Gross.
    If you do an EngD, which is the what the EPSRC say is their ‘blue riband’ post doc research qualification, you will get at least £15090. For this qualification you have to have a sponsoring company who will be expected to make this up to somewhere around £18k. Gross, and no council tax.
    This isn’t secret insider information. I got it off the EPSRC website 5 minutes ago.
    In my limited experience, if you get a post-doc research job the absolute minimum starting salary is ~£28k. Which can be quite a pay drop if you come of a £18k gross EngD stipend.
    I think that these are more than competitive with engineering graduate salaries, except for the big oil companies.
    Confirms my impression that the man is an idiot.