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Government launches plan to make the UK an international technology superpower

22nd March 2023
Kiera Sowery
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The UK has published a roadmap for reaching tech superpower status by 2030 through a new International Technology Strategy.

The Foreign Secretary and the Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary set out at the launch in London how the UK will build on the strength of our tech sector, which is already the largest in Europe and the third highest valued in the world after the USA and China.

Last week’s publication of the Integrated Review Refresh identified that authoritarian regimes are using technology as a tool of oppression - with far-reaching consequences for the security and prosperity of the British people.

The International Technology Strategy sets out the UK’s alternative. The UK, guided by four principles - to be open, responsible, secure and resilient - will shape the future of technology in a way that promotes its use positively, and drives innovation and UK tech leadership, while boosting our security from new and emerging threats.

The UK Government will work closely with Governments, academia and industry to leverage the UK’s strengths in technology through international partnerships with established and emerging science and technology powerhouse nations.

The Prime Minister has made growing the economy, creating better paid jobs and opportunity across the country, one of his five priorities. Investing in our thriving tech sector will directly contribute to that. The sector was worth $1 trillion in 2022, and our country is home to more than 85,000 startups and scaleups. More investment was generated in the UK tech sector last year than in France and Germany combined, creating and sustaining high quality jobs around the country.

The International Tech Strategy will boost growth in this sector, strengthening our position on the world stage while forging long-term links that will promote the UK as place for investment and collaboration in the technologies of the future. 

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “Now more than ever, it is important that the UK steps up to promote British tech excellence worldwide and takes a stand against the malign influences that seek to use tech against us.

”That is why we’ve announced this strategy, helping to deliver on our ambition to be a tech superpower by 2030, backing UK businesses and helping us solve the challenges of tomorrow through innovation and international collaboration.”

Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said: “We are a top-class breeding ground for emerging tech, but being a superpower means working with our international partners to turn these nascent technologies into global industries.

“Our International Tech Strategy will ensure we deepen collaboration with our allies on the technologies of tomorrow, driving growth and prosperity for the UK while strengthening our national security.”

Our first tech envoy, Joe White, has helped to boost our ties with tech companies in Silicon Valley. Building on this success, the UK will expand our network of tech envoys and expertise to create the world’s most extensive tech diplomacy network. We will use this as a platform to enforce our principles, challenge authoritarian narratives and to drive international collaboration with industry. Envoys will be bring expertise from the tech sector, ensuring that they can put their lived experience of this industry into boosting the UK’s global leadership.  

These aims will further be supported through our new Technology Centre of Expertise. With the first pilots running from later this year, these centres will bring together tech and digital experts from Government, private sector, and academia to support countries to transform their economies in a sustainable and inclusive manner through innovation.

The UK Science and Technology Framework set out the ambition for the UK to be internationally recognised as a tech superpower by 2030. Being a tech superpower requires us to collaborate more deeply with other leading nations to tackle the urgent global challenges facing our planet through science and tech. This strategy set out the work being done to build those partnerships.

As part of the strategy, the UK will also work with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on Technology to engage with the international community on how to better use technology. We will also build on the UK’s success in securing a seat on the Council of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), working together with partners to increase worldwide connectivity, and provide clear leadership in the telecoms sector.

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