UK businesses have welcomed a move by the government to create a new department focusing specifically on science, innovation and technology.
Previously, these industries fell between the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy). However, following a reshuffle they will be split off into a brand new department, headed by former DCMS chief Michelle Donelan – who will also be given a seat in cabinet as part of her role.
The move has been welcomed by UK startups, especially those working within the tech industry. Among them was executive director at policy group Coalition for a Digital Economy, Dom Hallas, who told sifted.eu that the move would bring together “the research and funding from BEIS with the digital policymaking experience from DCMS.”
The DSIT, as it has become known, started with the objective of positioning the UK at the forefront of global scientific and technological advancement. To achieve this it set out six main targets.
First was to increase the level of private investment in research and development, to make the UK economy the world’s most innovative. Next was to deliver gigabit broadband and to put public services at the forefront of all new developments.
It was also tasked with strengthening links with overseas science and technology organisations, and to deliver key legislative reforms (such as the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill).
The final target was to pass the Online Safety Bill, following its long – and ongoing – process through parliament.
Announcing the formation of the DSIT, a statement from Downing Street proclaimed it would: “drive the innovation that will deliver improved public services, create new and better-paid jobs and grow the economy.”
It concluded that a single department focused on turning scientific and technical innovations into practical, appliable solutions would “help make sure the UK is the most innovative economy in the world.”