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How can the UK lead the fourth industrial revolution?

08 November 2017

The findings of the business led industrial digitalisation review have been announced, branded as ‘Made Smarter UK’ it sets out the basis for how the UK can lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

A group of businessmen and academics from across the UK came together to lead a review for the Government around industrial digitalisation. The team, which is led by Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK, Phil Smith, Chairman of Cisco UK and Dave Stokes, CEO, IBM UK & Ireland, advises on the impacts of digitalisation across UK manufacturing and industrial sectors, and how government working in partnership with industry can maximise the opportunities from driving digitalisation and automation.

The recommendations from the review should ensure that industrial digitalisation provides a significant boost and opportunity for British industry rather than a downside, especially on UK jobs. 

The Made Smarter Review Report is the product of eight months of work with contributions from over 200 organisations including world-leading universities, the CBI, Royal Academy of Engineering and British R&D Catapult centres.

Professor Juergen Maier, CEO Siemens UK has said “the UK is being held back by a history of chronic underinvestment in innovation and skills, so we have identified a series of strategic challenges government and industry must overcome.”

The review focuses on the following strategic challenges: the increased pace of adoption of industrial digital technologies, the faster innovation of these technologies, and a need for stronger and more ambitious leadership to transform UK industry. As a result, the review has developed three game-changing recommendations (plus one support recommendation), which can be summarised as: 

• Adoption: Build a national digital ecosystem that will be significantly more visible and effective and that will accelerate the innovation and diffusion of industrial digital technologies. This includes a National Adoption Programme to be piloted in the North West, focused on increasing the capacity of existing growth hubs and providing more targeted support. Critical to the success of our recommendations will be the upskilling of a million industrial workers to enable digital technologies to be adopted and exploited through a single Industrial Digitalisation Skills Strategy. 
• Innovation: Refocus the existing innovation landscape by increasing capacity and capability through 12 Digital Innovation Hubs, 8 large-scale demonstrators, and 5 digital research centres focused on developing new technologies as part of a new National Innovation Programme. 
• Leadership: Establish a national body, the Made Smarter UK (MSUK) Commission, comprising industry, government, academia, further education, and leading research and innovation organisations, which would be responsible for developing the UK as a leader in industrial digitalisation technologies and skills, with a mandate to develop the UK’s own Industry 4.0 domestic and global brand.

Professor Juergen Maier concludes; “my call to action is now for government and the business community to come together and embrace these proposals. I believe they represent a very positive agenda that we can all get behind, especially in these times of economic and political uncertainty. Focusing on the long-term challenge of the new industrial revolution will bring us together as a nation and make our country more prosperous. I very much look forward to the opportunity of helping the UK take a much stronger role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution as we get to work and take these recommendations forward.”

The Made Smarter Review Report is now available. Download it here

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