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November 27, 2014

IET singles out key tech innovation areas in UK

Action is needed to ensure skills shortages and lack of investment do not hamper potential.

By Ellie Burns

Space, robotics, 3D printing, new energy networks, food manufacturing and cyber security are the six industries, named by the IET, which could significantly boost the UK economy.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology has warned that action is needed now to ensure that skills shortages and lack of investment do not hamper their potential.

The IET report, ‘One to Watch’, singled out six of the UK’s most promising engineering and technology industries where the UK is already among the global leaders – or has the potential to achieve that position in the near future.

Eleven senior-level representatives from the six industries put forward a compelling case for why these industries represent an enormous opportunity for the UK to build businesses with global capability – and create new jobs that can grow the UK economy.

Nigel Fine, IET Chief Executive, said: "This report shows that these promising and exciting industry areas offer the UK tremendous opportunity for growth and global leadership."

"But we also hear straight from the horse’s mouth that the biggest barrier to that growth is meeting the need for high numbers of engineers and technicians with an increasingly transformational skillset – especially as these industries grow and new jobs are created."

Chris Sullivan, VP Advanced Solutions at Courion, commented on how organisations can address the shortage of cyber security skills with a better use of technology; "To put the scale of this problem in perspective, try feeling that one pound coin in your pocket. You would need a stack of them 2,000 miles high to cover annual cyber security losses."

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"Now that’s hard to imagine but I wouldn’t recommend trying it to see because the international space station might crash into it before you got even 1/10th that high."

"Of course you can, you should and you must train people to help cope, but it is also important to leverage intelligent tools to automate security and assurance tasks to improve speed, accuracy and efficiency (remember, it’s a big and complex problem). A fundamental step in this direction is to continuously mine for and eradicate excessive access."

"Excessive access comes in many forms like privileged, orphaned and abandoned accounts that are consistently leveraged by our adversaries. Managing these down will reduce your complexity and your threat surface and ease administrative overhead."

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