Daily Mail

£360m bid to turn UK into science superpower

- By Colin Fernandez Science Correspond­ent

THE UK is investing £360 million in artificial intelligen­ce, nuclear fusion and genetics to become a science ‘superpower’ by the end of the decade, Rishi Sunak will announce today.

As part of the commitment, the Government will also pledge to ensure researcher­s have access to the ‘best physical and digital infrastruc­ture’ for research and developmen­t, to attract the best talent to this country.

The PM will say the UK ‘can only stay ahead with focus, dynamism and leadership’, and his ten-point plan promises to use post-Brexit freedoms to develop a ‘pro-innovation culture’ in the public sector.

As part of the programme, the Government will set up an exascale supercompu­ter facility. An exascale computer can carry out one quintillio­n calculatio­ns a second. A quintillio­n is one with 18 zeroes.

Dr Roger Highfield, science director of the Science Museum, said: ‘It is really exciting news that the UK plans to set up an exascale supercompu­ter facility, given that we led the way in computing thanks to the likes of Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing.

‘ UK scientists and engineers will welcome this announceme­nt of further funding for high-performanc­e computing, which has fallen behind in the past dozen years.’

Today’s funding announceme­nt comprises £243 million of new funds and a previously announced £117 million for PhD research into artificial intelligen­ce.

Mr Sunak said: ‘Trailblazi­ng science and innovation have been in our DNA for decades. But in an increasing­ly competitiv­e world, we can only stay ahead with focus, dynamism and leadership. The more we innovate, the more we can grow our economy, create the highpaid jobs of the future, protect our security, and improve lives.’

Science Secretary Michelle Donelan said innovation and technology ‘hold the keys’ to raising productivi­ty, increasing wages and cutting energy prices.

She added: ‘We are putting the full might of the Government and our private sector partners behind our push to become a scientific and technologi­cal superpower.’

Sir Paul Nurse, of the Francis Crick Institute, said: ‘Only by being a leading science nation can the UK drive a sustainabl­e economy, increase productivi­ty and generate societal benefits such as improved healthcare and protecting the environmen­t.’

‘Innovation is in our DNA’

 ?? ?? High-tech: An exascale computer
High-tech: An exascale computer

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