Government's Industrial Strategy promises AI and robotics investment


The government has pledged to better support the UK's robotics and AI industry and will invest an additional 4.7 billion by 2020 in R&D - the biggest increase from any Parliament since 1979.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will also help the UK capitalise on its strengths in science and innovation such as robotics, adding another avenue for innovators to be awarded funding to help the UK become more competitive in the sector.

"We have often been slower than competitors to take up and deploy existing technologies: for example, the UK makes less use of robotics and automation than most other countries in Western Europe," the report explained.

Prime Minister Theresa May explained the government's Modern Industrial Strategy is a critical part of the UK's plan for post-Brexit Britain.

"As we leave the EU, it will help us grasp the bigger prize: the chance to build that stronger, fairer Britain that stands tall in the world and is set up to succeed in the long-term," she said."And it is a vital step toward building a country where prosperity is shared, and there is a genuine opportunity for all."

The Industrial Strategy also addressed the skills gap and pledges to ensure everyone has the basic skills needed in a modern economy through introducing technical education to help those who decide not to go to university. This will be implemented via 170 million freed up by local authorities to launch new "Institutes of Technology."

The government will also introduce STEM and digital skills and numeracy education for everyone, raising skill levels in lagging areas. MOD apprenticeships will be used as a launchpad to fill the skills gap via on-the-job training.

"The programme has a particular focus on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), as well as entrepreneurial skills," the report said. "A team has been established in MoD to develop a joint apprenticeship scheme with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) by April 2017."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.