Young scientist using touchpad while working on machinery in a lab

Major investment in tech upskilling

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has announced that thousands of people around the country are to benefit from training and new qualifications focused on future technology.

Coming thanks to more than £1.1 billion worth of funding, skills in areas such as artificial intelligence are being developed to revolutionise the work being done in key industries and make sure that the UK workforce is one of the best skilled for future tech in the world.

Engineering and physical science doctoral skills are to benefit from investment so that businesses, charities, and academia can upskill some of the nation’s brightest minds. Most of the opportunities for this development will come outside of the south east of England, as Edinburgh hosts 300, more than 250 will be situated in Bristol, whilst Sheffield and Manchester will host more than 150 respectively.

DSIT tech investment quote

Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State for Science and Technology, said:

“Building on our reforms to the skills system will require work from each and every one of us – universities, schools, and businesses.

“By doubling down on our investments in skills and backing British business, we can lay the foundations for an economy fit for the future – an economy that creates jobs and improves lives for communities up and down the country.”

The health sector will benefit from revolutionary surgery methods, as researchers at King’s College London look at introducing advanced engineering to use micro-surgical robots and chemical techniques to allow for surgery to be done ‘without the knife’. Alongside this, digital chemistry developments such as artificial intelligence will help with the development of new drugs – including antibiotics and cancer treatments.

Universities are also to benefit from £14 million of funding to create quantum PhD studentships, alongside another £14 million to fund early career researchers. Developments in workforce and learning opportunities are also seeing more apprenticeships created in quantum through a new pilot scheme that will make sure that quantum job opportunities are available to people from all backgrounds.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins commented on health benefitting from this development, saying:

“Adopting the latest cutting-edge technology will allow us to deliver faster, simpler, and fairer care for patients, and this investment reflects the scale of our ambition.

“AI will form a central part of our recently announced £3.4 billion plan to boost productivity in the NHS, which will deliver quicker test results, replace outdated IT systems, and unlock £35 billion in savings.

“As part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, we will also harness technological innovations to enable new ways of working, while recruiting and retaining hundreds of thousands more staff.”

Other measures that have been announced with this funding include:

  • £4.5 million for an academic consortium in Birmingham to establish a medicine manufacturing skills centre of excellence.
  • £3 million available through a competition to select a delivery partner for the Science and Technology Venture Capital Fellowship Programme.
  • A new Future Telecoms Skills Taskforce that will utilise stakeholders from across government, academia, and industry.
  • Building on government work to drive people into digital careers, working with industry and the Digital Skills Council.
  • Make more progress on establishing a new National Academy for Maths.

The development of these skills will, overall, continue to contribute to the government’s aims of driving economic growth, as well as futureproofing the workforce of the future.


Image credit: iStock


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