£464 of the £600 additional funding for science.
1.The big data revolution and energy-efficient computing
2. satellite data analysis
3. robots and other autonomous systems.
4. Synthetic biology
5. Regenerative Medicine
7. Advanced materials and nanotechnology
8. Energy and its Storage
The policy paper, published by Policy Exchange, seems well-informed and the highlighted fields sound plausible. But, as in the past, the strengths that the government wishes to support lie largely in the universities. The number of world-class companies able to bring these technologies to market is limited.
We must wish the strategy well but a similar report in 1950 could have pointed with real confidence to four much greater technologies in which Britain had world leadership or at least top-ranking status: commercial jet airliners; computing; electronics and telecommunications; nuclear power. These are massive industries, far bigger in scale than the Famous 8, and all failed miserably.
Meanwhile, the government’s next big initiative is the £33 billion HS2 project, a large part of which will be sourced overseas because Britain’s pioneer railway manufacturing industry lost its way many decades ago.