UK and US pledge to strengthen ties in science and tech

The UK and US have agreed to deepen ties on science and technology, to create a new era of strategic cooperation in the field.

As part of US president Joe Biden’s visit to the UK and under the framework of the revitalised Atlantic Charter, the UK government said that the two countries have pledged to develop a landmark partnership to “strengthen their relationship, while creating jobs and protecting the security of citizens.”

The partnership will explore a number of areas for cooperation including research, innovation and commercialisation; defence, security, law enforcement and intelligence.

The collaboration also aims to strengthen cooperation in areas such as the resilience and security of critical supply chains, battery technologies, and emerging technologies including artificial intelligence (AI) and to improve the accessibility and flow of data to support economic growth, public safety and scientific and technological progress.

It will see the countries work towards a new statement of intent to help realise the full potential of quantum technologies, which use the properties of quantum physics to dramatically improve the functionality and performance of devices, develop proposals on future technology such as 6G and strengthen collaboration on digital technical standards.

The UK and US have also committed to continue to broaden collaboration on science and technology to help facilitate world-class research and influence the rules, norms and standards governing technology and the digital economy.

Officials from both countries will work to develop the partnership over the course of the next year.

“In the 80 years since the Atlantic Charter was signed, technology has changed the world beyond recognition,” said digital secretary Oliver Dowden. “But the goals that underpin it still bind the US and UK together today: support for democracy, open societies and free markets.”

Dowden added: “Today’s announcement marks a new era of cooperation with our closest ally, in which we commit to using technology to create prosperity and guarantee the safety and security of our citizens for years to come.”

The countries hope to combine their expertise to tackle global challenges such as cancer, pandemic preparedness, antimicrobial resistance, and climate change, including through closer coordination between the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and through closer collaboration between US and UK senior science and technology advisers.

“The United States is our closest ally and most important research partner – a partnership which harnesses the power of the free market, science and new technology to address some of humanity’s greatest challenges, from antimicrobial resistance to preparing for future pandemics,” said Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary.

Presidential science adviser and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Eric Lander, said: “There are few relationships as consequential as the transatlantic partnership between the United States and United Kingdom in science and technology.

Lander added: “We share a belief in the power of science and technology to improve health, prosperity and security, and a commitment to the importance of investigator-driven research, freedom of inquiry, and equitable participation in the S&T enterprise.”

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