UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan have laid out a new initiative that will see in excess of £370 million being funneled into improving infrastructure, investment, and skills for growing UK tech companies, with “trailblazing” tech including quantum, supercomputing, and AI specifically mentioned in the government’s statement.
The new Science and Technology Framework is an all-hands-on-deck call from the newly created Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and is seeking to involve all aspects of the government in a plan to place the UK as king of the hill when it comes to global science and technology this decade through 10 key actions:
- identifying, pursuing and achieving strategic advantage in the technologies that are most critical to achieving UK objectives
- showcasing the UK’s S&T strengths and ambitions at home and abroad to attract talent, investment and boost our global influence
- boosting private and public investment in research and development for economic growth and better productivity
- building on the UK’s already enviable talent and skills base
- financing innovative science and technology start-ups and companies
- capitalising on the UK government’s buying power to boost innovation and growth through public sector procurement
- shaping the global science and tech landscape through strategic international engagement, diplomacy and partnerships
- ensuring researchers have access to the best physical and digital infrastructure for R&D that attracts talent, investment and discoveries
- leveraging post-Brexit freedoms to create world-leading pro-innovation regulation and influence global technical standards
- creating a pro-innovation culture throughout the UK’s public sector to improve the way our public services run
“The more we innovate, the more we can grow our economy, create the high-paid jobs of the future, protect our security, and improve lives across the country,” said the Prime Minister.
A portion of this financial commitment has already been reported, when the UK Government announced a £117 million investment towards the 16 Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) for AI researchers.
Amongst a series of planned rollouts for the capital, one of note, up to £50 million has been earmarked to spur co-investment in science from the private sector and philanthropists to drive the discoveries of the future, subject to business cases. One such entity that the UK Government says it’s already in talks with is Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife Wendy, about additional support of up to $20 million as part of this work.
“Today, we are putting the full might of the British government and our private sector partners behind our push to become a scientific and technological superpower, because only through being world-leaders in future industries like AI and quantum will we be able to improve the lives of every Briton,” commented Science, Innovation, and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan.