We support the development of new approaches in a range of technologies including advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, digital, electronics, sensors, biosciences, quantum, and advanced computing.

The background to technologies

Digital technologies have already transformed our world, and their increasing performance and falling costs are opening yet more new and exciting markets across the economy, including in manufacturing and the service industry. Digital technologies are key to delivering increased productivity and competitiveness.

They can also increase access to key services such as financial services, legal advice and insurance that, together with cyber security, lead to a more resilient society for individuals and businesses.

The UK’s thriving digital sector contributed £149 billion or 7.7% to the economy in 2018. This represented 7.9% growth on the previous year, nearly six times larger than growth across the whole economy. Methods of sensing, collecting, storing, transmitting, and analysing data will become increasingly powerful. Artificial intelligence and machine learning (the ability of machines to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence) has much more to offer.

Find out more about our plans in Building the future economy: Plan for action for UK business innovation.

The work we’re doing to support technologies

The UK government’s innovation strategy describes technology families of particular UK strength and opportunity:

  • advanced materials and manufacturing
  • artificial intelligence
  • digital and advanced computing
  • bioinformatics and genomics
  • engineering biology
  • electronics, photonics and quantum
  • energy and environment technologies
  • robotics and smart machines.

We support UK businesses to explore how best to develop and deploy these new technologies in their application areas: from early-stage emerging technologies, such as quantum technologies, to the latest refinements of enabling technologies, including electronics, photonics, advanced materials, robotics, and biosciences.

This includes support for innovations that rely on bringing together multiple technologies in new products, services, processes, or business models.

Next-generation digital technologies

Digital technologies are relevant to most of the technology families. They provide the tools, connectivity and infrastructure needed to support product, process and service enhancements in all sectors of our economy. This includes the gathering, curating, storing, retrieving and analysis of data and their safe and secure use in cyber environments.

We support development, validation and adoption of digital technologies, and their responsible deployment, including in manufacturing, high-value services and creative industries.

This includes suites of digital technologies, such as:

  • machine intelligence
  • 5G and new communications technologies
  • Internet of Things
  • digital twin
  • distributed ledger technologies
  • new classes of digital circuits
  • cloud
  • augmented reality and virtual reality
  • satellite and space technologies.

These will become bundled into increasingly complex systems to meet increasing customer demand.

We support businesses through a range of funding programmes and expert support services.

Search for Innovate UK funding opportunities.

Last updated: 17 August 2023

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