Government focuses on AI and innovation in Industrial Strategy

Government focuses on AI and innovation in Industrial Strategy [Image: Pinkypills via iStock]

The government is set to focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and innovation in its Industrial Strategy, according to a new whitepaper.

Entitled ‘Industrial Strategy: Building a Britain fit for the future’, the whitepaper sets out the UK’s aim of becoming “the most innovative nation by 2030” and the government’s commitment to investing a further £275 million in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Technological innovation and AI received a specific focus as areas where the UK can show it is a global leader.

Greg Clark, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, said that as well as “setting a path to improved productivity, our Industrial Strategy sets out four areas where Britain can lead the global technological revolution”.

He pointed to four “Grand Challenges”: AI and big data; clean growth; the future of mobility; and meeting the needs of an ageing society. These have all been identified on the advice of leading scientists and technologists, Mr Clark explained.

In the whitepaper, the government set out that it would raise total research and development (R&D) investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027, as well as increase the rate of R&D tax credit to 12 per cent. It said it would also invest £725 m in new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programmes “to capture the value of innovation”.

The government also intends to boost the country’s digital infrastructure with over £1 billion of public investment, including £176 million for 5G and £200 million for local areas to encourage the rollout of full fibre networks.

Mr Clark said: “In our Industrial Strategy, we set out how we will build on our strengths, extend them into the future and capitalise on the opportunities before us. A serious strategy must also address the weaknesses that keep us from achieving our full potential.”

He went on to say: “By improving productivity while keeping employment high, we can earn more – raising living standards, providing funds to support our public services and improving the quality of life for all our citizens.”