Government to boost tech investment by £2bn with new “Industrial Strategy”

Industrial Strategy Fund will look to take advantage of commercial opportunities in AI, robotics and biotechnology and “get the economy firing on all cylinders”

Prime minister Theresa May has announced plans to boost investment into science and technology innovation by £2bn per year, as well as a review into research and development (R&D) tax incentives to help more start-ups scale.

The funding will help the UK’s tech businesses remain “at the cutting edge of scientific and technological discovery” and “get the economy firing on all cylinders”.

The government will also create an Industrial Strategy Challenge fund that will focus on artificial intelligence, robotics and biotechnology, helping start-ups in the sectors take advantage of opportunities for commercialisation.

Additionally, there will be a review of current R&D tax incentives to ensure the UK remains competitive on the global stage and attractive to scientists, innovators and tech investors.

Speaking at the CBI annual conference today, May said: “Our modern Industrial Strategy will be ambitious for business and ambitious for Britain.

“It is a new way of thinking for government – a new approach. It is about government stepping up, not stepping back, building on our strengths, and helping Britain overcome the long-standing challenges in our economy that have held us back for too long.”

Stuart Veale, managing partner at Beringea, commented: “There is already so much talent and potential in industries such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality and an increase in government-backed R&D will complement the number of scale-up venture capital funds that have been created with these industries in mind.

“The UK still has a way to go in terms of becoming a global frontrunner within these sectors, but by increasing funding and support for both start-ups and scale-ups within these sectors, the government is taking necessary steps towards closing the funding gap between the UK and Silicon Valley.”

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