The Next Silicon Valley: Five innovation experts appointed to accelerate UK technological development

Posted on 5 Jan 2023 by The Manufacturer

Five leading innovation experts have been appointed to spearhead technological development in the UK, as the Chancellor strengthens aims to become the next Silicon Valley.

The innovation leaders will work across five high potential fields, including digital technology, green industries, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and the creative industries, leveraging the UK’s regulatory freedom for a post-Brexit technology boom and job creation across the country.

Chief Scientific Adviser and National Technology Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance will oversee the UK’s technology push, reviewing regulations and easing restrictions to maximise research and development efforts.

Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “I want British firms to lead the world in turning fantastic science into new products and services – and we need to make sure government is doing everything we can to encourage innovation and competition. We have already set out how we will back our formidable financial services sector to unlock private investment in new industries, and we will show the same ambition in other high-growth sectors to ensure the future Silicon Valleys are based in the UK.”

Nadeem Gabbani, Founder of Exobotics, said: “The UK’s ambition of becoming the next Silicon Valley is exciting for businesses operating in the science and technology sectors and it gives us the confidence to keep pushing the boundaries of our products and services. Satellite technology offers a plethora of benefits, especially for those outside of the space industry, helping businesses to monitor assets for the FinTech industry, assessing crop health for agriculture, and identifying new veins of raw materials for those in the mining industry. With government support, key industries such as space will continue to help cement the UK as a global leader in technology and innovation.“

As part of the government’s technology imitative, there will be a review of regulation to enable businesses greater freedom to drive investment and growth in emerging technologies, including quantum technology, artificial intelligence, and advanced navigation.

Dr Henry Balani, Head of Industry and Regulatory Affairs at Encompass Corporation, comments: “These appointments are a positive indication that the government is taking tangible steps towards fulfilling its promise to support and drive innovation, which will ultimately fuel growth and help to bolster the UK’s position as a global leader.”

“However, there’s some way to go before the government’s ambition of the UK being recognised as ‘the world’s next Silicon Valley’ is realised, and there must be attention placed on how the UK develops its regulatory model so that there is an effective balance between the importance of fostering innovation and ensuring a robust environment that helps to combat financial crime. 

“Regulatory technology will be key in this respect, and we should expect to see the emphasis on digital transformation, and its benefits, increase in the coming weeks and months. With cloud technology and tools powered by automation, financial institutions can embark on digital transformation journeys that help to ensure continued regulatory compliance, as well as the ability to stay agile, competitive, and grow.”

The five innovation leaders will be Matt Clifford, Chair of the new Advanced Research and Invention Agency, Priya Lakhani OBE, a member of the AI Council, Sir John Bell, board director at Genomics England, Camilla Fleetcroft, Vice-President of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at Eclevar UK, and Jane Toogood, Chief Executive of Catalyst Technologies at Johnson Matthey.

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