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What’s Onward This Week

This year marks London’s tenth Tech Week, where investors and entrepreneurs have gathered to celebrate the capital’s innovation success but also to debate where it needs to be improved. There was one topic that dominated throughout: artificial intelligence.

In his keynote address, the Prime Minister highlighted the opportunities AI may provide for personalised education and to achieve “the holy grail of public service reform” – including faster discoveries of drugs, illnesses and reducing the burden on the health service.

As Onward’s recent report on the Generative AI revolution highlighted, AI will bring shocks and threats – but also opportunities. Rishi Sunak is eager to lead the global regulation race and the UK has a unique opportunity. It can lead the fight to ensure “human values” are embedded in AI, but it must also not be overly prescriptive to destroy its competitive advantage.

✍️ Research

Only 20% of the public say they are “still comfortable” paying their energy bills. And that’s why our report, Hydrogen: Who Pays?, called on the Government to abandon the hydrogen levy which could increase energy bills by £118 a year. The UK needs a secure supply of low energy carbon but a levy would be unfair, especially when households will not reap the benefits of hydrogen. 

In an interview with Politico, Energy Secretary Grant Shapps has suggested that the Government will make a U-turn on the hydrogen levy in an effort to ensure the hydrogen industry is funded fairly. Jack Richardson, Head of Getting to Zero, welcomed the signs: “It’s great that the Treasury and Department for Energy Security and Net Zero is listening to the MPs across the Commons who have raised their concerns about the hydrogen levy following Onward’s report.”

📰 Media Mentions

Our newest paper, Beyond Holyrood by Iain Stewart MP, was featured in The Herald

Missing Millennials was mentioned in Prospect, The Guardian and The Comet

Renewed Importance was featured in Drax’s analysis of the UK’s approach to tackling climate change. 

Onward’s Director Sebastian Payne appeared on Times Radio’s Think Tank Thursdays.

🌐 Onward Online

Earlier this week, we hosted ‘Stepping Up to Scale Up: How can the UK better support innovative firms?’ with Andrew Griffith MP, Sebastian Payne, Katherine Bennett and Louis Taylor. You can catch up on the event on YouTube or check out our Twitter thread from the event here

We also hosted ‘Poised for Take Off: Realising the potential of drone technology to boost growth’ with Jesse Norman MP, Allan Nixon, Dave Pankhurst, Anne-Lise Scaillierez and Vicki Murdie. You can catch up on the event on YouTube or check out our Twitter thread from the event here

We are also excited to announce that Zachary Spiro has joined Onward as a Policy Fellow for our Science Superpower programme.

🗓️ Upcoming Events

Upskilling: Building a Science Superpower

This summit will consist of a keynote address followed by a panel event.

Keynote address: Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP 

Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP, Secretary of State for Education, will give a keynote address on the need to upskill the UK’s workforce to give young people access to high quality jobs. 

In this address, the Secretary of State for Education will explore how businesses offering high-quality technical roles and jobs in advanced manufacturing can better target school leavers to respond to local skill deficits, create new routes into jobs and build partnerships. This will be a priority for any government committed to levelling up and spreading opportunity.

Panel Event: Upskilling: Building a Science Superpower

Jobs in defence stretch well beyond the military. Firms across the UK can offer high-quality technical roles with clear progression paths in towns and smaller cities where other industries struggle to grow. But these businesses are struggling to recruit. 

However, the Prime Minister recently set out a science and technology framework that aims to put the UK at the forefront of global science and technology this decade. But what skills will we need to achieve this? And how do we create the right educational pathways for both school leavers and adults looking to upskill?

Please note that both events are online only. Sign up to receive the streaming details.

Event Graphics 2023 11 - Updated Design May 2023

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