The UK is a world leader in technology development, widely considered Europe’s leading country for global technology investment – £3bn has been invested through venture capital investment into the UK’s technology sector. In addition, the UK has the highest number of initial public offerings (IPOs) and more tech ‘unicorns’ created than anywhere else in Europe. The technology sector underpins all sectors from financial services and high-value manufacturing to retail and agriculture. As a result many of these sectors have specific ‘Tech’ industries, including FinTech, BioTech, EdTech, AgriTech and CleanTech.
One of the biggest advances in the last two decades has been the continuous emergence of new, disruptive digital technologies, revolutionising how we interact with the world. Digital technology encompasses a wide spectrum of technologies, including Internet of Things, Big Data, Machine Learning, artificial intelligence, e-commerce, cybersecurity and virtual and augmented reality. The most recent emergence being Blockchain technology, and its potential for redefining currencies, supply chains, and digital assets.
The UK is the third largest market for medical technology in Europe, generating £56bn annually, and leading Europe in terms of foreign direct investment into this sector. Health & Life Sciences encompass companies in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies, life systems technologies, nutraceuticals, and cosmeceuticals, with outputs including precision medicine, advanced therapies, and improved food quality and sustainability.
As world economies grapple with the challenges of avoiding climate change, new ways to provide cleaner energy and reduce carbon emissions have never been more urgently needed. Businesses across the UK have risen to meet this demand, contributing to a renewable energy and low carbon sector valued at £42.6bn.
The world is becoming more urbanised and integrated than ever before, with infrastructure within our living environment becoming increasingly important, including systems for the reduction of emissions and increase of power generation. The smart infrastructure and resilient systems market will be worth £1.2tn by 2025 and will have a significant effect on the future of the UK economy. As part of this market, there are numerous opportunities for disruptive innovations that will improve the quality of life, ensure sustainable economic growth and reduce environmental impact.
Innovation in manufacturing and materials has resulted in the development of more efficient and faster processes, new materials that ease manufacturing and advanced materials for improved product performance. This sector is responsible for many wider economic impacts including lean production techniques, rapid prototyping, CAD, sensors, polymers, and nanomaterials.
Travel has changed dramatically over the past 20 years, with advances in automotive and aviation technology giving us the ability to travel faster, with more comfort and with significantly greater safety. The next stage of this technological development is set to see advances in electric and autonomous vehicles.