British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday launched a new framework through his newly created ministry – the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology – as part of a vision to cement the UK's place as a science and technology superpower by 2030. The British Indian leader said the new Science and Technology Framework is designed to 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.
Downing Street said that the framework will work alongside a raft of new measures backed by over GBP 370 million in funding to boost investment in innovation, bring the world’s best talent to the UK, and seize the potential of ground-breaking new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI). "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," said Sunak.
"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,” he said.
The delivery of the new framework is set to begin immediately with an initial set of projects, which are estimated as being worth around GBP 500 million in new and existing funding towards skills and infrastructure to help the UK take a global lead in "game-changing technologies".
"Innovation and technology are our future. They hold the keys to everything from raising productivity and wages, to transforming healthcare, reducing energy prices and ultimately creating jobs and economic growth in the UK, providing the financial firepower allowing us to spend more on public services,” said Michelle Donelan, the new UK Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary.
"That is why, 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,” she said.
The UK government said its framework has been designed in consultation with industry experts and academics, to help deliver stronger growth, better jobs, and bold discoveries. It covers GBP 250 million investment in three “truly transformational” technologies in AI, quantum technologies and engineering biology to tackle the biggest global challenges like climate change and healthcare.
There is also up to GBP 50 million earmarked to spur co-investment in science from the private sector and philanthropists to drive the discoveries of the future and GBP 117 million of existing funding to create hundreds of new PhDs for AI researchers and GBP 8 million to find the next generation of AI leaders around the world to do their research in the UK.
The British government also announced a further extension until June 30 of the financial guarantee provided to the UK’s Horizon Europe applicants as part of its scientific collaboration with the EU.