Who is the UK’s new National Technology Adviser, Dr Dave Smith?

Dr Dave Smith, the new UK National Technology Adviser, sat in a white shirt against a background of solid blue broken up with clouds and white cross marks.
(Image credit: DSIT)

The UK government has named Dave Smith as its new National Technology Adviser, a veteran in the tech sector and expert who has worked closely with the government throughout his career.

In the role, Smith will be responsible for establishing and strengthening relationships between government, industry, and academia on science and technology.

He will also provide advice directly to the ministers at DSIT, with the remit of ensuring the UK  continues to improve its international reputation and advantage when it comes to technology.

Smith’s predecessor, Sir Patrick Vallance, helped to provide recommendations on the government’s 2023 Spring Budget with regard to spending on emerging technologies such as quantum computing.

He will report directly to Sarah Munby, the permanent secretary at the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology (DSIT), and closely collaborate with Dame Angela McLean, the government’s chief scientific adviser.

“I am deeply honored to serve as the UK’s National Technology Adviser,” said Smith.

“Throughout my career, I’ve consistently advocated for the transformative power of technology and innovation to redefine societies.”

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to harness the growing potential of the British tech sector to drive growth and tackle society’s biggest challenges. Building upon the significant foundations laid by Sir Patrick Vallance, I’m eager to ensure the UK’s continued leadership and position as a global tech superpower.”

Smith previously served as the managing director at Roke Manor Research (Roke), a research and development firm that provides technical systems and advisory services across communications, defense, and intelligence to clients such as the UK government.


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Roke has worked with the Royal Navy on artificial intelligence (AI) technology for use in combat situations, and also markets products in “geospatial intelligence”.

Within his role at Roke Smith specialized in wireless and cellular solutions, having headed up its wireless division prior to taking on his executive role. He also worked with the MoD on defense communications. 

He brought this expertise to his subsequent positions including as group head of technology at PA Consulting Group, and director of central technology at Rolls-Royce.

Smith achieved a PhD in physics from the University of Warwick and also took part in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program in 2017.

His first days in the post will be colored by the UK’s return to the Horizon Europe program, which will see renewed cooperation between UK researchers and their counterparts in the EU as well as other countries in the program including Norway and Israel.

His first days in the post will be colored by the UK’s return to the Horizon Europe program, which will see renewed cooperation between UK researchers and their counterparts in the EU as well as other countries in the program including Norway and Israel.

As part of the program, which the UK spent two years outside of following Brexit, UK researchers will be able to bid for grants for projects across areas such as AI, climate science, and advancements in medical tech.

Smith’s experience as managing director of the environmental services firm Ricardo could be particularly useful for his expected duties when it comes to the UK’s role in tackling climate change, a goal that will only become more pronounced in the coming years.

He is also likely to become closely involved with the UK’s AI Safety Summit, which seeks to draft agreements on international AI safety policy and bring together partners from across sectors to tackle the risks of frontier models that leverage generative AI.

In this capacity, Smith will liaise with the UK AI Safety leader Ian Hogarth who heads the Foundation Model Taskforce.

“The Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology has a clear mission: to ignite innovation that enriches our economy, elevates our public services, and strengthens our national security,” said Michelle Donelan, secretary of state for science innovation and technology.

“Dave Smith’s appointment sends a firm message: we are committed to bringing the brightest tech minds to government, and working hand-in-glove with industry to make the most of what tech has to offer.”

Rory Bathgate
Features and Multimedia Editor

Rory Bathgate is Features and Multimedia Editor at ITPro, overseeing all in-depth content and case studies. He can also be found co-hosting the ITPro Podcast with Jane McCallion, swapping a keyboard for a microphone to discuss the latest learnings with thought leaders from across the tech sector.

In his free time, Rory enjoys photography, video editing, and good science fiction. After graduating from the University of Kent with a BA in English and American Literature, Rory undertook an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London. He joined ITPro in 2022 as a graduate, following four years in student journalism. You can contact Rory at rory.bathgate@futurenet.com or on LinkedIn.