Priya Lakhani, an Indian-origin CEO of an artificial intelligence (AI) education technology company is among five leading industry experts appointed to a new UK government panel to accelerate the development and deployment of emerging technologies in the UK.
Lakhani, the founder of CENTURY Tech which develops AI-powered learning tools for schools, colleges, universities, and employers across the world, was on Sunday named on the new panel as part of a vision to create the “Silicon Valleys of the 21st century” in the UK.
Lakhani, who was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2014 for her work in the field of technology, is a member of the government’s advisory body called the AI Council.
“I want British firms to lead the world in turning fantastic science into new products and services and we need to make sure the government is doing everything we can to encourage innovation and competition, said UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, as he announced the new panel of experts.
We have already set out how we will back our formidable financial services sector to unlock private investment in new industries, and we will show the same ambition in other high-growth sectors to ensure that future Silicon Valleys are based here in the UK,” he said.
“The countries that secure leadership in new technologies will lead the world, enjoying unparalleled growth, security and prosperity for decades to come and it is our job to ensure the UK is able to fully reap the rewards, he added.
Lakhani and Matt Clifford, Chair of the new Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA), have been appointed to support work to harness new digital technology such as AI.
John Bell, who is on Genomics England’s board of directors, and Camilla Fleetcroft, Eclevar UK’s Vice-President of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, will work on cultivating the life sciences sector and help drive the next generation of discoveries, such as delivering genomics-enabled clinical trials.
Jane Toogood, Chief Executive of Catalyst Technologies at Johnson Matthey, will take forward work on building green industries like hydrogen and battery development in the UK.
The industry experts will be led by the UK government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and National Technology Adviser, Patrick Vallance, as he reviews existing rules to help develop a pro-innovation regulatory approach that allows the UK to fulfil its ambition to become a science superpower and world leader in key growth sectors such as digital technology and life sciences.
Economic growth and raising productivity is critical if we are to improve the standards of living for all Brits. One of the most sure-fire ways to deliver both is betting big on innovation, which is exactly what we intend to do, said UK Business Secretary Grant Shapps.
Backed by this fierce new team of advisers, Patrick Vallance will lead the charge alongside industry to supercharge growth in some of the world’s most exciting growing technologies, turning the UK’s natural strengths into pillars for long-term growth, he said.
The aim of the review is to establish the UK as the best-regulated economy in the world in key growth sectors, ensuring that industry and investors have the certainty they need to drive innovation, investment, and growth through anticipating new developments in emerging technologies.
The Treasury Department said that quantum technologies for example, though in the early stages of development, have the potential to improve vaccine and drug discovery and development, advanced navigation technologies, and enhanced sensors helping us to deliver better and more targeted services in the UK.
By creating markets and promoting and protecting competition, regulation plays an important role in enabling new entry and disruption and fostering incentives for innovation, the government said, pointing to its Contracts for Difference scheme as an example.
The scheme is aimed at bringing forward over 26GW of new renewable energy while driving competition and innovation which has pushed down the cost of offshore wind by 70 per cent in seven years.
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