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Inquiry launched into role of tech in Covid-19 recovery

Science and Technology Committee will look at the role of technology and innovation as the UK recovers from the coronavirus pandemic

The UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry into the role of technology, innovation and research in helping the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The committee wants to find out if the pandemic has led to any specific opportunities and challenges for economic growth driven by innovation, research and technology, and how those sectors can best be supported by government in helping to drive the country’s economy forward post-Covid-19.

It also wants to know how research and innovation have been affected by the pandemic, and whether they are affected by any lasting changes.

Science and Technology Committee chairman Greg Clark said Covid-19’s impact on the UK economy “has been significant and we are starting to see signs of recovery”. 

“One thing that is clear is that the deployment of new technologies is likely to be accelerated as a result of the crisis as we work and live our lives differently,” he said. “There will also be a need and an appetite for new discoveries, with opportunities for the UK’s scientists and technologists to play a leading role in recovering from the effects of the crisis. 

“We see an important role for institutions, companies and people across every part of the UK to contribute to the recovery and the inquiry will be considering how that can best be done.”  

The committee also wants to know how effective the government’s measures to support research and innovation has been during the pandemic. 

One of these measures was a £20m tech fund launched by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to find new, technology-enabled ways to ensure the continuation of work and productivity amid the pandemic and similar future situations, as well as the government’s Ministerial University Research and Knowledge Exchange Sustainability Taskforce, which was launched to support university researchers.

The Scottish government has launched a review into how the country’s tech sector can help with economic recovery after Covid-19. The review, led by former Skyscanner chief operating officer Mark Logan, aims to find out how Scotland can harness the potential of the technology sector, moving at pace towards “a new high-tech, low-carbon economy”.

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