‘A dedicated Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and a secretary of state with a seat in cabinet is a clear signal that research and innovation sit at the heart of the Prime Minister’s productivity and growth agenda.’
In a reorganisation, the UK government has established a number of new departments, of which one is focused on science and technology, and another on energy security.
The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, led by Secretary of State Michelle Donelan, will be responsible for ‘positioning the UK at the forefront of global scientific and technological advancement’. The government added that having a single department focused on turning scientific and technical innovations into practical and applicable solutions to the challenges faced in the world, would help make sure the UK is the most innovative economy in the world.
At the same time the new Department for Energy Security and Net-Zero, led by Secretary of State Grant Schapps, is tasked with securing the UK’s long-term energy supply, bringing down energy bills and halving inflation.
It’s not every day you become the head of a brand new government department.— Michelle Donelan MP (@michelledonelan) February 7, 2023
Today I met with my new leadership team to discuss our mission for the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology🧪👩🏽🔬💻
Let's make Britain the most innovative economy in the world 🌍 pic.twitter.com/rZznjY5t7P
The developments have been welcomed within the UK science community. Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society said: ‘A dedicated Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and a secretary of state with a seat in cabinet is a clear signal that research and innovation sit at the heart of the Prime Minister’s productivity and growth agenda.’
Sir Adrian added that the Secretary of State’s first task had to be securing association to Horizon Europe and other EU science programmes. Commenting on the Energy Security and Net-Zero Department, Sir Adrian said that the stand alone department would ‘have the focus to clearly articulate the roadmap to net zero, and give the much needed investment signals to drive the innovations needed for the transition to a sustainable energy system and a net zero future’.
Dr Daniel Rathbone, Assistant Director, Campaign for Science and Engineering said: ‘This new Secretary of State position can help ensure cross-governmental buy-in and support, by championing science at the cabinet table, whether that is in investment, skills development or elsewhere.’
At the end of January 2023 the government’s Advanced Research Invention Agency (ARIA) was formerly established. With £800 million in funding, it will focus on ‘identifying and funding transformational science and technology at speed.