A new post-Brexit innovation strategy will help British businesses seize “vast opportunities,” Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng vowed Thursday. The U.K. government’s newly-launched proposal is aimed at boosting private sector investment in the U.K.’s research and development (R&D) sector.
Public spending on R&D was already due to rise to an annual £22 billion under plans unveiled in the spring, but Kwarteng is promising new, regular “innovation missions” to focus business and government attention on issues facing the U.K. These will be determined by the U.K.’s National Science and Technology Council.
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The strategy is said to be partly modeled on the U.K.’s successful COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce, which saw the state and private sector work together on a project chaired by a venture capitalist, but funded mostly by public money.
The new strategy identifies seven R&D areas where the government believes the U.K. already has strengths, including robotics, genomics and artificial intelligence. Kwarteng said he wanted the strategy to focus on these and “rekindle our country’s flame of innovation and discovery.”
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“If we get this right, we can build the foundations for the new industries of tomorrow, and ensure British firms are at the front of the pack to turn world-leading science into new products and services that are successful in international markets,” he said.
Five research projects have also been allocated funding by UK Research and Innovation — the public body that directs research and innovation funding. That will see firms in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England’s North and Midlands given a share of £127 million.
BY ANDREW MCDONALD
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