Rt Hon Greg Clark MP
Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
We are at one of the most interesting and exciting times in modern history, where new technologies and innovations present huge opportunities for our country.
In recent years, this country has built an economic track record to be truly proud of. Three million jobs have been created, delivering the lowest unemployment rate since the 1970s. Our economy has grown every year since 2010 and the deficit cut by three quarters.
In an ever-changing and rapidly developing world, it is right that we look to the future and have a plan for how we can ensure the UK is prepared and ready to seize the opportunities ahead and forge our future.
One year ago, we launched our modern Industrial Strategy: a long-term plan of how Britain can build on its economic strengths, address its productivity performance, embrace technological change and boost the earning power of people across the UK.
The Industrial Strategy focuses on three key areas
Firstly, we are strengthening the foundations of productivity by encouraging innovation, developing high-quality jobs, supporting UK businesses and fostering growth in all parts of the UK.
Secondly, we are building long-term strategic partnerships with businesses through Sector Deals between Government and industry, driving economic growth and commercialising the technologies of the future right here in the UK.
Finally, we are taking on the Grand Challenges – the global, society-changing opportunities and industries of the future, finding where the UK can build on its strengths and lead the world.
These Grand Challenges, identified by working with businesses, innovators, and scientists – in the expansion of artificial intelligence and the data-driven economy, the global shift to clean growth, the future of mobility, and meeting the needs of an ageing society – are challenges all societies face and in which the UK has unique heritage and strengths to tackle and exploit. There is scarcely a corner of the world that will not be transformed by them.
Work is well underway to meet these challenges across the UK
In Wales, we’re helping Swansea University develop new building materials1, which generate electricity from light and heat, transforming buildings from energy consumers to power stations, not only helping cut emissions, but save money too.
In Scotland, we’re building on the UK’s leading life science sector by backing a new Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre2 in Renfrewshire to help companies develop new medicines, get them to market faster, and treat people quicker.
In Northern Ireland, we’re accelerating the diagnosis of dementia and other cognitive diseases by backing tech company, BrainWaveBank, to develop a wearable brain activity monitor, allowing people to measure the health of their brain from their living room.
And in England, we’re helping commuters to reach their destinations safely and efficiently by backing Leeds-based Citi Logik in creating a tool that maps commuting patterns using mobile network data, potentially transforming urban planning and local transport networks.
These are just a few examples of the hundreds of companies, researchers and innovators being supported through our modern Industrial Strategy.
Committing to the biggest increase in public R&D investment in history
In the Industrial Strategy, I committed to the promotion of high-quality good work so that jobs are not just on offer, but also provide the opportunities and skills to progress. That is why we are backing major reforms to technical education, to ensure that both today, and for generations to come, the young people of this country have the skills they need to thrive, well into the future.
And, as we build on the UK’s reputation as a great place to discover new technologies and do business, we have committed to – and are delivering – the biggest increase in public research and development investment in UK history.
This time of unprecedented change offers unprecedented opportunity – and we have the plan to ensure UK businesses and workers reap the rewards of those opportunities. With an economy founded on invention and innovation, Britain is well-placed to lead the world in the industries of the future and our modern Industrial Strategy is how, together, we are forging our future.