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    The four grand challenges to make the UK fit for the future

    The four grand challenges to make the UK fit for the future

    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) has written a white paper to set out its long-term plan to boost productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK.  As part of their plan to ‘build a Britain that’s fit for the future’, it has set out four Grand Challenges which aim to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future. Ensuring that the country takes full advantage of major global changes, improving people’s lives and the country’s productivity as a whole. 

    The first four Grand Challenges are focused on the main global trends that are set to transform our future. They are:

    • Artificial intelligence (AI) and data
    • Ageing society
    • Clean Growth
    • Future of mobility

    The DBEIS is developing ambitious missions to tackle each of these Grand Challenges. Each mission will focus on a specific issue and will bring government, business and organisations throughout the country together to drive solutions and make a real difference. 

    Wanting to put the UK ahead in the AI and data revolution, an Office for AI has been put together. AI and machine learning are already starting to transform the global economy but it is growing within organisations around the country. In healthcare specifically, it is already helping doctors diagnose medical conditions more effectively and assisting in communications. The hope is that embedding AI across the UK will create good quality jobs and drive economic growth. The main mission is to use data, AI and innovation to transform the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases by 2030. 

    Meeting the needs of our ageing society has been in focus for some time. The DBEIS hopes to harness innovation to help accelerate this mission and create an economy which works for everyone, regardless of age. It wants to ensure that people can enjoy at least five extra healthy years of life by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the richest and the poorest. It’s not just in the UK, but globally. We are living longer and this creates more need and demand for services like housing, education and healthcare. We need to help build homes that are fit for the future. Where people can grow as a family while helping our older generations lead independent lives. This will ultimately help them continue to contribute to society. 

    The shift to clean growth has also been a focus for some time but goalposts are so far in the future that there’s a worry it will be too late. The move to cleaner economic growth through more efficient use of resources and low carbon technology, is one of the most important missions. The DBEIS wants to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030 and establish the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040. With at least one low-carbon cluster by 2030.

    The final Grand Challenge; the future of mobility, aims to ensure the UK is a world leader in shaping the future of mobility. It also links to clean growth, with the main mission aiming to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles. With all new cars and vans effectively zero emission by 2040. This mission is all about looking for the ways we can improve customer experience, drive efficiency and get people travelling around much more freely, without impacting negatively on the environment. 

    All of these challenges require innovation, not just from the Government itself. But from businesses around the country. Moving to more sustainable methods of working and building is an important first step. Construction specifically accounts for nearly half of the UK’s total carbon emissions. This is where the country could make a significant difference but it requires more people to move to modern methods of construction. 

    You can find out more about the missions and grand challenges on the government website.