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  1. Government Computing
March 22, 2023

Government’s new International Technology Strategy aims to boost UK global tech influence

Ministers say the new roadmap will help Britain shape the global conversation about responsible tech deployment.

By Matthew Gooding

The UK government is set to publish a new International Technology Strategy which will aim to help build the nation’s tech influence on the global stage. As part of the strategy a new Technology Centre of Expertise is being set up to bring together the brightest minds from industry and academia to advise other countries on digital transformation.

Foreign secretary James Cleverly says the UK’s International Technology Strategy will boost Britain’s standing on the world stage. (Photo by Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock)

Due to be launched today at an event in London, the strategy is partly a response to issues highlighted last week in the Integrated Review, published last week, which updated the government’s security, defence, development and foreign policy priorities and identified that authoritarian regimes are using technology as a tool of oppression – something which could have a detrimental impact on British citizens.

The government describes the strategy as a roadmap which will help it achieve its ambition of becoming a “tech superpower” by 2030.

What’s in the UK International Technology Strategy?

The strategy has not been published in full at the time of writing, but the government says it is based on four principles – to be open, responsible, secure and resilient – that will shape the future of technology in a way that promotes its use positively, and drives innovation and UK tech leadership, while also boosting national security from new and emerging threats.

As part of the strategy, the UK will expand its tech diplomacy network with the creation of more tech envoys, who will help enforce the strategy’s principles, challenge authoritarian narratives and drive international collaboration with industry. The UK already has a tech envoy to Silicon Valley and recently announced one for the Indo-Pacific region. The new envoys will be expected to bring relevant industry experience to the role.

The Technology Centre of Expertise will bring together tech and digital experts from government, the private sector, and academia to help countries transform their economies in a sustainable and inclusive manner through innovation.

Foreign secretary James Cleverly said: “Now more than ever, it is important that the UK steps up to promote British tech excellence worldwide and takes a stand against the malign influences that seek to use tech against us.

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“That is why we’ve announced this strategy, helping to deliver on our ambition to be a tech superpower by 2030, backing UK businesses and helping us solve the challenges of tomorrow through innovation and international collaboration.”

New strategy part of Rishi Sunak’s tech push

The International Technology Strategy is part of a renewed focus on tech at the heart of government since Rishi Sunak became prime minister. This saw Sunak launch a new dedicated Department for Science and Technology (DSIT).

DSIT’s first major piece of work was a £370m Science and Technology Framework, a ten-point plan that “will challenge every part of government to better put the UK at the forefront of global science and technology”. It identifies artificial intelligence, engineering biology, quantum technologies, semiconductors, and telecoms as five key technology areas for the future of the UK economy.

Since then, a quantum computing strategy has also been launched, and it is expected a long-promised blueprint for Britain’s semiconductor industry will follow in the coming weeks.

As part of the International Technology Strategy, the UK will also work with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on Technology to engage with the international community on how to better use technology. The government also plans to build on the UK’s success in securing a seat on the Council of the International Telecommunications Union, working together with partners to increase worldwide connectivity, and provide clear leadership in the telecoms sector.

Technology secretary Michelle Donelan said: “Our International Tech Strategy will ensure we deepen collaboration with our allies on the technologies of tomorrow, driving growth and prosperity for the UK while strengthening our national security.”

Read more: Government backs plan for UK AI regulatory sandbox

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