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State of UK research and innovation in science and tech in 2024
Thu, 18th Jan 2024

The Council on Geostrategy is launching a significant new survey to gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the UK science and technology ecosystem. Its primary objective is to pave the way for the UK to become more competitive and ultimately, a net zero superpower. The survey's results will underline a comprehensive report for 'Caudwell Strong Britain', a project advised and sponsored by philanthropist and founder of Phones 4U, John Caudwell.

The survey is grounded on the issue of decision paralysis seen in areas such as R&D investment, public infrastructure investment, and the shift towards net zero, causing business and investor deterrence. Underscoring this is the consistent preference for short-term objectives over a long-term vision within the UK.

The ultimate aim of the 'Caudwell Strong Britain' project and the resultant report is to investigate the means by which the UK can fortify its science and technology base. This strengthening will also emphasise resilience, competitivity, and environmental consciousness, unlocking the potential for increasing prosperity and security, and environmental protection for future generations.

John Caudwell, a leading voice in the project, has extended his excitement about working with the Council on Geostrategy on this research. Commenting on the project, he stated, "It’s long been crystal clear to me that net zero is not only essential to save the planet, it's the best way to grow the UK economy. During lockdown, I unveiled what I called 'Caudwell Pandemic Recovery', a key part of which was a tax-free enterprise zone aimed at creating a Silicon Valley of sustainability."

The survey will delve into the current standing of the UK's science and technology ecosystem in the areas of green technology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum technology, and space. Exploring facets such as education, infrastructure, funding, and skills, the survey aims to understand how these areas aid or impede the UK's capacity for scientific and technological advancement.

'Caudwell Strong Britain' intends to identify the strengths and weaknesses within the UK's scientific and technological realms and offer suggestions on fortifying it with enhanced education, skills, infrastructure, and institutions. The Council on Geostrategy recognises the need for the UK to develop a gutsy and forward-thinking strategy to aid in recovery from the economic depression. It acknowledges that a vision centred around science and eco-friendly technology will not only strategically benefit Britain but also contribute to the planetary good.

Dr Mann Virdee, a Senior Research Fellow at the Council on Geostrategy, will head 'Caudwell Strong Britain'. In the next year, the initiative will release several policy papers and articles elucidating how the UK can revitalise its scientific, technological, and environmental prowess. Dr Virdee specialises in various fields including artificial intelligence, biotechnology, research and innovation, life sciences, 5G, quantum computing, space science and governance, and international development.