The UK government has announced a record £743.5 million investment in tomorrow’s technologies to help secure the UK’s place as the world’s science superpower.
The funds, announced at London Tech Week last month, will support the development of innovations ranging from self-driving vehicles to airborne labs as part of the government’s broader efforts to invest in technology, create skilled jobs and expand the economy.
This follows the release of last year’s innovation strategy, which made it clear that the government intended to put innovation at the center of everything it did, ensuring that the Kingdom United to be at the forefront of the latest technologies, enhancing the country’s competitiveness on the world stage and supporting the economy.
This will lay the foundations for the future of the British people – creating jobs, strengthening industry and improving the lives of millions of people by providing skilled jobs for the future across the country.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
The incredible work of the Vaccine Task Force, housed in my department during the pandemic, has demonstrated that this country is home to some of the best scientists and innovators in the world.
I am immensely proud of the work we have done so far to support groundbreaking research, having confirmed £40 billion in funding for R&D over the next 3 years and placing it high on our agenda. London Tech Week itself is proof of that.
And today we are announcing over £743m of investment, including in the latest quantum technologies, to secure Britain’s leading position in the global market in a host of new areas.
Speaking at the event today, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced a series of substantial investments in the latest technology.
- the UKRI Infrastructure Fund – £481m in cutting-edge research and innovation infrastructure projects over the next 3 years, some of which are subject to a business case
- UKRI’s Accelerating Impact Program – £118m for the best, brightest and most disruptive ideas from UK universities, to turn them into innovative businesses and services
- UKRI’s ISCF Commercializing Quantum Technologies Challenge – winners will receive £6 million in funding spread across 16 projects to help deliver a “quantum economy”, a key objective of the future HMG quantum strategy
Also speaking at London Tech Week, Science Minister George Freeman said:
- Innovate UK’s Fast Start competition, which will provide a new round of Fast Start grants worth £30 million to help UK start-ups and entrepreneurs develop innovative new products, processes and services, building and the UK’s future economy in key sectors, from healthcare to climate tech
- the continuation of the UKRI Future Leader Fellowships, for which a new round is planned with £100m of new funding, supporting the brightest people in universities, business and other research environments to bring new products to market new technologies
- the launch of UKRI’s Enabling a Responsible AI Ecosystem programme, led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and backed by £8.5 million – the UK’s first major ethics research program of AI on this scale. It will bring together diverse research perspectives – from the humanities to computer science – to help address some of the biggest ethical questions posed by AI in order to build public trust, drive adoption and unlock the potential of technology responsibly.
Taken together, these amount to £743.5m – part of the government‘s planned £40bn R&D investment over the next 3 years.
All innovative projects benefiting from this investment have the potential to bring significant benefits to UK society and economy. In many cases they are already doing so, whether through a revolutionary giant ‘microscope’ that led to the discovery of a synthetic foot-and-mouth disease vaccine, or a flying lab that allows scientists to track and assess the pollution, severe weather and the effects of climate change.
Speaking to an audience of investors, policymakers and industry leaders today at the Quantum Computing Summit, Kwarteng highlighted how the projects supported by the latest cycle of the Commercializing Quantum Technologies Challenge UKRI will support the development of new quantum products, meaning £153 million will be invested over the life of the scheme, helping companies bring quantum technologies to market.
Supporting innovative entrepreneurs
Speaking at Digital Catapult’s Cyber-Physical Future Forum, Science Minister George Freeman confirmed an additional set of support programs for innovators and entrepreneurs.
Science Minister George Freeman said:
As the whole of government focuses on tackling the cost of living, I firmly believe that an innovation-driven economy will create the jobs, growth and prosperity we need to help us rebuild all over the country.
We live in a time of great technological change. New technologies are creating new industries at a rate that would have been thought impossible even 10 years ago. As a responsible government, we must give our researchers and innovators the tools and means to thrive.
That’s why we’re announcing a record investment of £743.5 million in tomorrow’s technologies, putting entrepreneurs at the heart of our plans to help propel our economy while tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges, and supporting our ambitions to make the UK a scientific superpower.
He announced a new round of Future Leader Fellowships, worth £100 million, which will support talented researchers and innovators from the UK and around the world to develop and commercialize their work.
The government also announced the 84 winners of the previous round of Future Leader Fellowship funding, who will be backed by £98m awarded to help bring technologies to market that can tackle global challenges head-on.
These include a fleet of autonomous satellites capable of tracking and mitigating natural disasters, injectable gels to deliver life-changing tissue regeneration therapies, and clog-resistant permeable pavements that mitigate the impacts of climate change. climate and floods linked to urbanization.
Minister Freeman also announced a £30m Fast Start grant scheme, which will be launched to help small and micro businesses develop new innovations.
He highlighted how a new research programme, the first of its kind, will be supported by government funding of £8.5 million to address the biggest ethical issues posed by artificial intelligence, to build public trust and ensure that the potential of technology can be exploited responsibly.