Government’s Industrial Strategy: Tech Sector Reacts To Theresa May’s Plan

Prime Minister Theresa May has laid out the UK government’s new industrial strategy, which includes plans to boost science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills and a £4.7 billion fund into smart energy, robotics, IoT, 5G and biotech research.

Speaking to Silicon, several tech industry professionals have offered their reactions to the news, providing an insight into what the industry is thinking.

Dr Bernard Parsons, CEO and Co-founder of Becrypt

“I applaud the government’s new strategies to help boost British industry. The UK has a proud track record for delivering on quality and innovation, but we need to do more to survive on an increasingly fast-paced and competitive global scale.

“Smart energy, robotics, artificial intelligence and 5G mobile network technology are all fields that reflect the future of both industry and our daily lives. These technologies will continue to develop and change our lives at a rapid pace, with or without our involvement, and it will be the current generation of students and young people that enable the UK to establish itself as a leading innovator.

“With this in mind, the government’s decision to focus on STEM skills is absolutely correct. Technology is one of the most important sectors for the future of this country, and we need to prepare the next generation of leaders and innovators. This means not only more incentive to enter STEM subjects, but greater support to help turn this education into real opportunities in the business world.”

Laurie Miles, Director of Analytics at SAS UK & Ireland

“Against a backdrop of Brexit uncertainty, the survival factor for organisations lies in embracing innovation to make optimum decisions and iron out inefficiencies. The emergence of artificial intelligence, robotics and smart technologies means more data is being created than ever before. Yet there is a dearth of talent with the skills to extract insights from data and find the all-important needles within ever-growing data haystacks.

“To remain globally competitive and thrive in a modern and tech-centric economy, we need greater investment in skills. Science and mathematic skills form the basis of data science. It’s important to make the next generation aware of the real-world opportunities available to them and how critical these skills are to businesses nationwide.

“This commitment to closing the skills gap creates an opportunity to propel the economy forward using insights from big data. The next generation requires a solid foundation in STEM skills that are crucial to developing a pool of analytically-minded talent. While we’re moving in the right direction, we still need to do a better job of encouraging students to take up – and then develop – these skills.

“The value of each person’s competitiveness no longer lies in simply gaining necessary knowledge. It also requires them to develop a dexterity for learning.”

Alison Vincent, CTO, Cisco UK & Ireland

“The Prime Minister’s speech today highlights that the UK is a nation that is not afraid to evolve, is focused on the digitisation of infrastructure and committed to investing in the technology and people that will drive innovation now, and into the future.

“With a particular focus on the development of STEM skills and the announcement of £170 million fund to create new institutes of technology, it is a huge step forward in establishing the UK as a digital powerhouse.

“Going forward, we believe that today’s investment will help to shift perceptions and inspire the younger generation to take part in STEM subjects from an early age. Furthermore, by encouraging business and educators to work collaboratively with the government, we can clearly communicate the amazing opportunities these skills can present to young people and embrace digitisation in every region of the UK.”

Read more reaction on page 2…

Page: 1 2

Sam Pudwell

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

View Comments

  • I've actually read most of the industrial strategy document (have the Commenters?) and these are my conclusions:
    1. The 10 Pillars of the strategy is a wish list and a great solution to which there is no defined problem or opportunities that I can see.
    2. I'm not sure who it was written by but it bears all the hallmarks of a Utopian optimist
    3. No strategy in a sea change environment like Brexit can succeed without a SWOTs analysis or equivalent. The outcome of such a beast is the development of a strategy/plan to capitalise on Strengths, Remedy Weaknesses, Prepare for exploitation of Opportunities and Mitigate any identified. I see no evidence of this having been done.
    4. Spouting techno-babble about throwing digital technology at what is a very knotty problem I've seen before, many times, and it does not work. My GP surgery has gone all electronic from all manual and you know what? It takes longer to get prescription fulfilled and it is wrong more often than before. This is because all this technology is a TOOL, not an end in itself, and to utilise it needs a defined process aimed at a defined end result. Throwing technology at a poor process or method just hastens the inevitable end; a cock-up.
    5. The strategy doesn't seem to mention details of industrial opportunities. I'm thinking of graphene in particular, invented here and being pursued and products implemented by the USA, Japan and others. There will be others which the UK will let slip like we did the linear motor, now powering maglev trains in the Far East. We can't even make nuclear power station, our own cars or trains these days and our police buy their motorcycles from BMW. 'Twas ever thus.
    6. One key tactic has to be to develop premium products/services which minimise imported material where possible and are also eminently exportable. The document is so flowery prose oriented that hard objectives like this do not stand out, if indeed they exist. I'm trying not to be negative but I've seen 'PLANS' similar to this before and watched them sink.

Recent Posts

Intel Celebrates As EU Court Strikes Down 2009 Antitrust Fine

Twelve year legal battle sees EU court grant Intel's appeal against $1.2 billion EU antitrust…

6 hours ago

US Commerce Dept Warns Of Severe Chip Shortages

Some manufacturers have less than 5 days supply of computer chips, putting US manufacturing at…

8 hours ago

The Future of Consumer Tech in Business

As consumer and business technologies continue to merge, and as businesses transform into post-pandemic enterprises,…

8 hours ago

IMF Urges El Salvador To Drop Bitcoin As Legal Tender

South American country El Salvador urged to reconsider its decision to adopt Bitcoin as legal…

11 hours ago

Google Sued For ‘Deceptive’ Location Tracking Practices

Four attorneys general in the US are suing Google for allegedly misleading users about when…

13 hours ago