British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has reshuffled the UK government and launched a new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
The new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology is led by former universities minister, Michelle Donelan and will drive the innovation that will deliver improved public services, secure long-term energy supply, create new jobs, bring down household bills and grow the economy.
“Having a single department focused on turning scientific and technical innovations into practical, appliable solutions to the challenges we face will help make sure the UK is the most innovative economy in the world,” said the Prime Minister’s office in a press release.
“This is another sign of the importance government places on science and innovation,” says Daniel Rathbone, assistant director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, a research-advocacy group in London. “It is vital, however, that the practicalities of making changes in Whitehall aren’t allowed to take away from the time and resources needed to drive forward the promising agenda the government has previously set out.”
Two more new UK government departments
The UK government has announced a new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and one for Business Trade.
The new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has been tasked with securing long-term energy supply, bringing down bills, halving inflation and mitigating the impact of rising prices because of the Ukraine war, while focusing on the need to secure more energy from domestic nuclear and renewable sources as we seize the opportunities of net zero.
"A combined Department for Business and Trade will support growth by backing British businesses at home and abroad, promoting investment and championing free trade, whereas the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will recognize the importance of these industries to our economy and build on the UK’s position as a global leader in the creative arts,” Downing Street said in a statement.
A move welcomed by experts
The establishment of new government departments have been welcomed by experts from across the sector. Many UK scientists, organizations and corporates had been calling for a dedicated department for several years, and say the announcement puts science at the heart of government.
Tom Grinyer, Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics said: “We are entering an exciting new era powered by science, engineering and technology at a time when there are great opportunities and important choices facing the country.”
“We are entering an exciting new era powered by science, engineering and technology at a time when there are great opportunities and important choices facing the country.”