New Department for Science, Innovation & Technology a welcome step for the UK economy

In February the new Department for Science, Innovation & Technology was announced as a welcome development for the private capital industry as it continues to support the Government in its goal for the UK to become a science and technology superpower. The Department brings together relevant teams from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to drive this agenda.

3 min readMar 29

Described by some as “the Prime Minister’s department”, it is a core part of the PM’s long term commitment and ambition for the UK to be the next Silicon Valley.

The expertise of BVCA members in science, innovation and technology will be an important part of the Department’s work and insights. Whilst support for the private capital industry from the Department’s two Ministers, longstanding Innovation and Science Minister George Freeman MP and Technology Minister, Paul Scully MP, is also hugely welcome.

BVCA policy priorities for the Department

The Ministerial “in-tray” is a long one of opportunities, as well as challenges.

One of the greatest opportunities for the Department, and one that aligns with the Government’s “levelling up” agenda is supporting university spinouts by building more Cluster ecosystems. Universities, where ideas begin and intellectual property is based, are key to the UK’s long-term innovation drive. Closer relationships between universities, angel investors and venture capital investors would help ensure the best funding ecosystem possible is available to university spin outs to help them scale and grow.

An immediate challenge for the new department will be to revisit recent changes to R&D tax credits. The changes made at the Autumn Statement will be hugely damaging to R&D intensive early-stage companies. Unless a solution is agreed with industry as soon as possible, the changes will undermine the Department’s core goals of growth and innovation.

Finally, the department will need to address the talent gap, one of the most pressing issues for many early stage high growth tech and science companies looking to scale and grow. Education in STEM, data science and other related skills, as well as promoting entrepreneurship at all levels of education is vital if government is going to secure a long term sustainable future for science and technology in the UK.

From deeptech to biotech lifesciences, and much more, the new Department is a positive step in the drive for the UK’s global science and technology ambitions. With the US facilitating large strategic investment in key areas, such as a $369bn plan to boost green technology, and the EU looking to follow suit, it is vital that the UK, with this new Department, leverages the UK’s existing strengths and identifies its own growth path.

There is a huge amount of work to do, but the BVCA looks forward to working closely with Ministers and Civil servants to achieve their ambitions for innovation and growth.

Georgina Waite
Public Affairs Manager, BVCA

This article was originally published on 10 February 2023 on the BVCA website.




The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association represents over 750 member firms, including more than 400 investment funds and institutional investors