Michelle Donelan said: This week, we’ve shown that actions speak louder than words in our push to make the UK a scientific and technological superpower.

Government Pledges £3.5B To Make UK Technological Superpower

The Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his Spring Budget to the House of Commons, pledging nearly £3.5 billion to support the government’s ambitions to transform the United Kingdom into a scientific and technological superpower.

This funding will support the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology in delivering on the Prime Minister’s key priorities, such as growing the UK economy and creating better-paid jobs and opportunities for people in industries across the country. The Chancellor also stated that the government will accept all of Sir Patrick Vallance’s recommendations on regulating emerging digital technologies.

This is part of the government’s plans to create the gold standard for regulation in tomorrow’s technologies, providing a template that can be adopted globally.

The announcements in this week’s budget come on the heels of the government’s Science and Technology Framework, which was backed by £370 million in new funding and projects to ensure the UK has the skills and infrastructure to take a global lead in game-changing technologies.

The Chancellor’s pledge will be critical to achieving the framework’s goals of financing innovative science and technology start-ups across the UK, increasing investment in R&D, and forging a pro-innovation culture across the UK’s public sector to improve public services.

Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said: This week, we’ve shown that actions speak louder than words in our push to make the UK a scientific and technological superpower.

Over the weekend, we intervened to protect the finances of our burgeoning tech sector, laid out our roadmap for regulating tomorrow’s industries, and committed massive sums of investment in the Spring Budget.

When I established this Department, I promised to put every government tool in place to support our plans to drive growth through science and innovation. Yesterday’s Budget demonstrates that the government is putting its money where its mouth is, supporting industries that will create jobs, provide the firepower to invest in our public services, and ultimately improve people’s lives.

The Chancellor announced plans to invest £100 million in 26 transformative R&D projects in Glasgow, Greater Manchester, and the West Midlands as part of broader plans to boost local growth across the country. The Innovation Accelerators programme is a new approach to assisting city regions in becoming major, globally competitive research and innovation hubs, and it will aid in levelling up.

Local leaders will be empowered to harness innovation in support of regional economic growth through a new model of R&D decision-making. 26 projects have been chosen, including a University of Birmingham-led project to accelerate new health and medical technologies, the Manchester Turing Innovation Hub linking business to cutting edge AI research and technologies, and support in Glasgow to boost investment in key growth innovation sectors.

The UK has been a world-leader in quantum technologies for over a decade, and a new strategy has been launched to build on this progress.

The strategy will bring new investment, fast-growing businesses, and high-quality jobs to the UK, cementing its reputation as a top location to commercialise quantum. It will commit to providing public funding of £2.5 billion over the next 10-year phase of the national programme (2024–2034).

This represents an increase in funding of around £150 million per year and will support the UK’s goal to become a scientific and technological superpower.

Sue Daley, Director of Tech and Innovation at techUK, believes the commercialisation of quantum technologies will play a key role in the UK’s ambition to be a global scientific and technological superpower.

The National Quantum Strategy incorporates recommendations from techUK’s Quantum Commercialisation report and allocates £2.5 billion in funding for crucial steps including skills, procurement, market development, and responsible innovation. With the right collaboration, industry and government can turn the UK’s current success in quantum research into a world-leading position in quantum commercialisation.

The government is still committed to R&D and recognises the critical role that R&D and innovation play in the economy and society. The government will increase the rate of relief for loss-making, R&D intensive small and medium-sized enterprises beginning April 1, 2023. (SMEs). HMRC will pay eligible companies £27 for every £100 invested in R&D.

According to Steve Bates OBE, CEO of the BioIndustry Association, this is a huge boost for biotech companies across the UK that are developing new medicines and improving patient care. Our research-intensive industry is a critical growth driver for the British economy.

The Chancellor is focusing UK taxpayer support on life science entrepreneurs to attract private investment, keep the UK at the cutting-edge of international science, and create new high-value jobs. A new approach to AI regulation, focusing on the applications of AI, will be laid out in a forthcoming AI White Paper. This approach will drive business confidence, promote investment, boost public trust, and ultimately drive productivity across the economy.

The Chancellor has announced a new AI sandbox to test how regulation could be applied to the future of AI, as well as £900 million in investment into a new ‘exascale’ supercomputer and a dedicated AI research resource.

Exascale computers are the next frontier in computing, and the system being funded will be several times more powerful than the UK’s existing top supercomputers. The government will also begin working to clarify the application of intellectual property law regarding generative AI.

This funding will provide a significant uplift in the UK’s computing capacity, allowing researchers to understand climate change, power the discovery of new drugs, and maximise potential in AI.

The UK will become one of only a handful of countries to host an exascale computer, attracting the best talent and ensuring researchers have access to the best infrastructure. The budget is also committed to ensuring the UK is ahead of the curve on the future of web technology and maximising the potential of Web3.

The government will award a £1 million prize every year for the next 10 years for the best research into AI, called the ‘Manchester Prize’. The prize will be administered by DSIT and more details will be provided in due course.