UK and US agree to strengthen ties in science and technology

UK USA

The UK and US are to deepen ties on science and technology.

As part of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the UK and under the framework of the revitalised Atlantic Charter, the two countries have agreed to develop a landmark science and technology partnership.

The partnership will explore areas for cooperation including research, innovation and commercialisation; defence, security, law enforcement and intelligence; and making sure technology is used as a force for good around the world.

Digital Secretary, Oliver Dowden said: “In the 80 years since the Atlantic Charter was signed, technology has changed the world beyond recognition.

“But the goals that underpin it still bind the US and UK together today: support for democracy, open societies and free markets.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The United States is our closest ally and most important research partner – a partnership which harnesses the power of the free market, science and new technology to address some of humanity’s greatest challenges, from antimicrobial resistance to preparing for future pandemics.”

Presidential Science Adviser and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Eric Lander, said: “There are few relationships as consequential as the transatlantic partnership between the United States and United Kingdom in science and technology.”

The UK and the US are already global leaders in technologies such as cyber security and AI.

Research published by Tech Nation shows the AI sector is worth £32.6 billion and home to more than 1,300 AI companies including firms such as DeepMind. The cyber sector now employs more than 50,000 people in the UK and is worth an estimated £8.9 billion.

Dealroom data shows the UK is Europe’s undisputed tech hub, with £11.3 billion of venture capital being pumped into the sector in 2020, more than France and Germany combined, and the number of billion dollar tech ‘unicorns’ jumped from 10 to 81 over the same period.

Both governments are backing new technology and innovation. A ten-year National Quantum Technologies Programme, which is set to see more than £1 billion in private and public investment, has positioned the UK as a global leader in the field and in 2018 the US authorised more than $1 billion to advance quantum technologies, with three NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes and five DOE national research centres announced in summer 2020.

The UK government will invest £14.9 billion in R&D this year, bringing investment to its highest level in four decades. This is another step towards its commitment to increase total public and private R&D investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027 and includes £200 million for the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio to set the UK on the path to a low carbon future.