The UK government has published its new Science and Technology Framework, as it sets out to position the country as a tech superpower by 2030.
The 19-page document has been backed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Secretary of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan. It’s the first major report produced by the new department, after it was separated out into its own entity earlier this year from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the former Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The framework outlines ten key principles it will use to grow the UK’s science and technology capabilities:
1. Identify critical technologies
2. Signal the UK’s strengths and ambitions
3. Invest in research and development
4. Develop talent and skills
5. Finance innovative science and technology companies
6. Innovate government procurement processes
7. Explore international opportunities
8. Develop access to physical and digital infrastructure
9. Set new standards and regulations
10. Support an innovative public sector
The government says it’s focusing heavily on the science and technology industry because that’s where it sees the greatest potential for “prosperity, power and history-making events” this century.
Backing up its words with real-world investment, the government has given the green light to a host of new projects that will start immediately, collectively worth £500 million. Of this, around half is going into ‘technology missions’ to further develop AI, quantum technologies and engineering biology (using innovative technique to solve problems including food shortages, climate change and protect against environmental damage, among others). These three technologies are seen as the UK’s biggest opportunities and ones where the government wants to “exploit and sustain” a global lead.
In concluding, the report proclaimed that the 10-point framework would help the UK “grow and maintain the ecosystem we need to attract investment, grow companies, innovate, and deploy our world class science and technology research for good.”
It continued: “The prize is great and will bring immediate and long-term benefits to UK citizens and globally.”