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Investors call on new tech department to tackle five ‘urgent issues’

science department
Image credit: Richie Chan via Shutterstock

Founders, CEOs, and UK tech investors have called on the newly established Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) to address five “urgent issues” to support UK innovation.

A joint letter, seen by UKTN, was signed by more than two dozen figures in UK tech investment, including chief executives from SFC Capital, Triple Point Ventures, Jenson Funding Partners, and UK Business Angels Association.

The first point called on DSIT to “examine” the commercialisation of technology developed at UK universities. The letter, which was first reported by City A.M., encouraged the efficient use of existing funding to “support research with the potential to scale into great businesses”.

It recommended a consultation on the spinout process to encourage companies to consistently grow from educational institutions.

Innovation hubs were also singled out, with the signatories expressing a desire to see the tech department emphasise innovation beyond the ‘golden triangle’ of London, Oxford, and Cambridge.

It also called for pension reforms to encourage funds to invest more into the venture capital industry, a robust intellectual property strategy and clarity on the future of the tech visa scheme.

The scheme was created to help foreign tech workers locate in the UK. The programme has been run by Tech Nation, which will close next month after losing its government funding.

The letter said the decision to form the science and tech department was a “positive step”. However, it went on to say that ignoring the issues addressed will “not only result in irrelevance for the department at a time when it should be playing a key role in our economic recovery, but also represent a failure of the innovators it is supposed to support”.

“Many of these institutions anchor fast-growing regional tech hubs that are no harder to access from London than tech cities across the Bay Area are from Silicon Valley’s San Francisco epicentre,” the letter read.

“We must see more detail on how science, innovation, and technology will be nurtured around the whole of the UK.”