Tech to play big role in UK’s foreign strategy

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has emphasised the role of tech in the UK’s defence strategy and foreign policy through the Integrated Review Refresh for 2023. 

Following on from the initial Integrated Review two years ago, Mr Cleverly outlined some of the international issues affecting the UK’s power on a global stage including the war in Ukraine and China’s influences. 

Addressing the House of Commons, Mr Cleverly said: ‘We must build our own, and our allies’, resilience to cyber threats, manipulation of information, economic instability and energy shocks, so that we remain at the front of the race for technologies like fusion power that will define not only the next decade, but the rest of this century.’ 

Effort to strengthen partnerships with other countries and institutions around the world will also see science and technology placed as a ‘priority element’ in the review with a forthcoming International Technology Strategy outlining how this could play out. 

The newly formed Department for Science, Innovation and Technology will be responsible for coordinating next steps on this push with a ‘core function’ of the department, lead by Michelle Donelan, to be positioning the UK at the ‘forefront of global scientific and technological advancement.’ 

A government and industry taskforce will also be built to address the UK’s ‘capability in foundation models’, a type of AI model that is trained on large amounts of data to inform a wide range of tasks, according to the review. 

The Foreign Secretary also announced that the government would soon publish a semiconductor strategy for the UK to address concerns about the global supply chain for the vital tech component. 

This also recently formed part of the DSIT’s framework that sought to position the UK as a world leader in five key technologies, including semiconductors, such as AI, quantum tech, engineering biology, and future telecommunications. 

That framework was backed by a £370m investment which included £250m put into the outlined technologies to help address big issues such as climate change and health care.

Photo: UK Parliament (CC BY 3.0)


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