Written by 9:01 am EU Investment

Industry experts appointed to accelerate development of future tech as Chancellor sets out vision for 21st century Silicon Valleys

  • Five leading industry experts appointed to accelerate development and deployment of emerging tech in the UK, as Chancellor sets out vision to create the Silicon Valleys of the 21st century.
  • Experts will work hand-in-hand with industry and Sir Patrick Vallance to advise on new rules that use the UK’s regulatory freedom to promote innovation.
  • Second in a series of big growth announcements, following the Edinburgh Reforms of financial service regulation announced last week.

The Chancellor and Business Secretary have laid out plans for a series of exciting growth announcements across 2023 in five high potential sectors – digital technology, green industries, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and the creative industries – using the UK’s regulatory freedom outside the EU to pursue an ambitious vision to create the 21st century’s Silicon Valleys in the UK.

As set out at the Autumn Statement, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and National Technology Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, will review existing rules and help develop a pro-innovation regulatory approach that allows the UK to fulfil its ambition to become a science superpower and world leader in key growth sectors such as digital technology and life sciences. 

The UK is one of the best places in the world to invest, with over £10 billion committed to projects in 2021. However, with other countries also rapidly reforming their rules, anticipating how the landscape for emerging technologies will change is becoming an increasingly important source of competitive advantage in the global economy and could help drive up living standards, such as breakthroughs in medical research that put the UK at the front of the queue for new treatments.

The aim of the review is to establish the UK as the best regulated economy in the world in key growth sectors, ensuring that industry and investors have the certainty then need to drive innovation, investment and growth through anticipating new developments in emerging technologies. Quantum technologies for example, though in early stages of development, have the potential to improve vaccine and drug discovery and development, advanced navigation technologies, and enhanced sensors helping us to deliver better and more targeted services in the UK.

Five leading experts have been appointed to support Sir Patrick Vallance, working hand-in-hand with industry to identify any barriers to innovation and getting emerging technologies to market.

Matt Clifford, Chair of the new Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA), and Priya Lakhani OBE, a member of the AI Council, have been appointed to support work to harness new digital technology such as artificial intelligence.

Sir John Bell, who is on Genomics England’s board of directors, and Camilla Fleetcroft, Eclevar UK’s Vice-President of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, will work on cultivating the life sciences sector and help drive the next generation of discoveries, such as delivering genomics-enabled clinical trials.

Jane Toogood, Chief Executive of Catalyst Technologies at Johnson Matthey, will take forward work on building green industries like hydrogen and battery development in the UK.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said:

“I want British firms to lead the world in turning fantastic science into new products and services – and we need to make sure government is doing everything we can to encourage innovation and competition.

“We have already set out how we will back our formidable financial services sector to unlock private investment in new industries, and we will show the same ambition in other high-growth sectors to ensure that future Silicon Valleys are based here in the UK.  

“The countries that secure leadership in new technologies will lead the world, enjoying unparalleled growth, security and prosperity for decades to come – and it is our job to ensure the UK is able to fully reap the rewards.

“Sir Patrick and his team will be critical as we harness every tool at our disposal to create the industries and jobs of the future, which will deliver long-lasting benefits for local communities across the UK.”

The Chancellor has already set out plans to repeal and replace hundreds of pages of burdensome EU retained laws through the ‘Edinburgh Reforms’, which will establish a less costly and more responsive regulatory framework for the financial services sector. This includes a commitment to make substantial legislative progress over the course of 2023 on repealing and replacing EU-era Solvency II – the rules governing insurers balance sheets which is expected to unlock over £100 billion of private investment for productive assets such as UK infrastructure.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps added:

“Economic growth and raising productivity is critical if we are to improve the standards of living for all Brits. One of the most sure-fire ways to deliver both is betting big on innovation, which is exactly what we intend to do.

“Backed by this fierce new team of advisers, Sir Patrick Vallance will lead the charge alongside industry to supercharge growth in some of the world’s most exciting growing technologies, turning the UK’s natural strengths into pillars for long-term growth.”

By creating markets and promoting and protecting competition, regulation plays an important role in enabling new entry and disruption and fostering incentives for innovation. For example, thanks to the government’s Contracts for Difference scheme, the UK is bringing forward over 26GW of new renewable energy, while driving competition and innovation which has pushed down the cost of offshore wind by 70% in seven years.

Further information

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