New Framework For UK Investment In Science And Tech Announced 

The UK government has published a plan that it says will “Cement the UK’s place as a science and technology superpower by 2030.” 

The new Science and Technology Framework is the first major piece of work from the newly created Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and according the government, it will “Challenge every part of government to better put the UK at the forefront of global science and technology this decade through 10 key actions – creating a coordinated cross-government approach.” 

Central to the new framework is a plan to invest over £370 million in new government funding to boost infrastructure, investment and skills for “The UK’s most exciting growing technologies, from quantum and supercomputing through to AI.” 

Alongside the new funding, the 10 key points of the new Framework centre on: 

  • 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 news came on the back of the launch of a consultation into R&D tax credits. The House Of Lords sub-committee on the Finance Bill issued a report recently into the state of play of the UK’s R&D support system, and looked at a range of issues: the definition of what is – and isn’t – R&D, how the regime is designed and administered, how well understood the scheme is, and the level of abuse and fraud.  

This new framework will involve new ways of testing different models of funding science, to support a range of innovative institutional models, such as Focused Research Organisations (known as FROs), working with industry and philanthropic partners to open up new funding for UK research. For example, this could include working with a range of partners to increase investment in the world leading UK Biobank, to support the continued revolution in genetic science.  

Announcing the new initiative, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “Trailblazing science and innovation have been in our DNA for decades. But in an increasingly competitive world, we can only stay ahead with focus, dynamism and leadership. 

That’s why we’re setting out 10 key actions under a bold new plan to cement our place as a global science and technology superpower by 2030 – from pursuing transformational technologies like AI and supercomputing to attracting top talent and ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed. 

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.

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