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What’s Onward This Week

Next week, world and business leaders will gather at Bletchley Park for the Prime Minister’s Global AI Summit. Fears of ‘super intelligence’ and bad actors using AI to make chemical and biological weapons are on his mind, along with anxieties about how terrorists and criminals might abuse the technology. It’s a conversation the world must have, but the debate shouldn’t be all doom and gloom. 

The countries that lead in this technology will unlock growth and transform public services. Over-regulation and pessimism risk snuffing out innovation, allowing unscrupulous countries to take the lead. The key policy challenge around AI will be managing risks while seizing new opportunities. We hope Onward’s research will help in striking the right balance.

✍️ Research

In partnership with the Startup Coalition and the Tony Blair Institute, Onward released its latest report, The UK’s AI Startup Roadmap, outlining how the Government could help remove obstacles facing fledgling companies. 

The number of British AI startups has soared in the past ten years from 200 to 1,700. Fostering these firms is critical to ensuring the UK leads the development of AI and grasps the opportunities it offers. But founders need help to access capital, talent and computing power – and they need freedom from premature regulation. Our joint AI report calls for the Government to deliver research and development tax breaks, reform visa routes and secure vital compute to help these firms thrive.

Earlier this week, Onward also hosted Science Secretary Michelle Donelan for a keynote speech on the future of AI ahead of the summit. She told the audience: “We’re not pulling up the drawbridge. What we want to do is give consumers and the public confidence.” You can watch her full speech online

📰 Media Mentions

Onward Director Sebastian Payne wrote for the i about how the risk of missing out on the AI revolution may be just as big as any threat from the technology itself.

He also spoke to Radio 4 PM about the Prime Minister’s first year in Number 10. 

In City AM, Onward’s Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee made the case for more Tory mayors.

He also spoke to Financial Times about the Government’s long term plan for towns..

The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail quoted Adam on Onward’s call alongside Bright Blue and the Conservative Environment Network to reform stamp duty to incentivise energy efficiency upgrades. 

Speaking at Onward, Science Secretary Michelle Donelan’s speech was covered by Sifted, UKTN and the Independent

🌐 Onward Online

How can the Government help AI start-ups? Onward’s Head of Science and Technology Allan Nixon explains.

🗓️ Upcoming Events

From idea to start-up to spin-out Tackling the ‘Valley of Death’

Innovation is a great British strength. Last year, over 5000 spin-outs and start-ups were registered in the UK. But despite contributing an estimated £1 trillion to the economy, employing over three million people, and producing some of the most successful companies in the world, many great UK innovations fail by falling into the funding ‘valley of death’.

To deliver on the Government’s “innovation nation” ambitions, the UK must overcome stubborn obstacles preventing many businesses from scaling up. Innovators need sustained funding and investment to turn their world-changing ideas into globally leading companies.

We are delighted to welcome the CEO of climate tech start-up Levidian, John Hartley, as our partner in this panel discussion, which will consider how the UK can create an ecosystem in which funding is both accessible and efficient.

A networking lunch will be available from 13.30 before this event begins at 14.00. The discussion will be followed by a short Q&A.

We hope you are able to join us.

Date: Wednesday 1st November

Time: 13.30 – 15.00

Location: Central Westminster, TBC

To sign up for this event, please click here.

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