Policy paper

The Grand Challenges

Updated 26 January 2021

This policy paper was withdrawn on

Since the Industrial Strategy was published, the UK’s business and economic environment has changed. Creating and supporting jobs remains the government’s central economic focus, but helping to drive growth in existing, new and emerging industries is also a priority. This is why we have transitioned the Industrial Strategy into our Plan for Growth and its related strategies.

Find out more about the:

Hand holding globe

The Industrial Strategy sets out Grand Challenges to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future, ensuring that the UK takes advantage of major global changes, improving people’s lives and the country’s productivity.

The first 4 Grand Challenges are focused on the global trends which will transform our future:

  • Artificial Intelligence and data
  • ageing society
  • clean growth
  • future of mobility

We are developing ambitious missions to tackle the Grand Challenges. Each of these will focus on a specific problem, bringing government, businesses and organisations across the country together to make a real difference to people’s lives. As we do this, we are working with leading experts such as University College London’s Commission for Mission Oriented Innovation and Industrial Strategy.

Find out more about the missions.

Artificial Intelligence and data

Picture of a robot

We will put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution.

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are general purpose technologies already starting to transform the global economy. They can be seen as new industries in their own right, but they are also transforming business models across many sectors as they deploy vast datasets to identify better ways of doing complex tasks – from helping doctors diagnose medical conditions more effectively to allowing people to communicate across the globe using instantaneous speech recognition and translation software.

Embedding AI across the UK will create thousands of good quality jobs and drive economic growth.

Find out more about the Office for Artificial Intelligence.

AI video


Ageing society

A patient receiving a health consultation

We will harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society.

The UK population is ageing, as it is across the industrialised world. The prospect of longer lives will require people to plan their careers and retirement differently. Ageing populations will create new demands for technologies, products and services, including new care technologies, new housing models and innovative savings products for retirement. We have an obligation to help our older citizens lead independent, fulfilled lives, continuing to contribute to society.

If we succeed, we will create an economy which works for everyone, regardless of age.

Ageing society video


Clean growth

Picture of an off shore wind farm

We will maximise the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth – through leading the world in the development, manufacture and use of low carbon technologies, systems and services that cost less than high carbon alternatives.

The move to cleaner economic growth – through low carbon technologies and the efficient use of resources – is one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time. By one estimate, the UK’s clean economy could grow at four times the rate of GDP. Whole new industries will be created and existing industries transformed as we move towards a low carbon, more resource-efficient economy.

The UK has been at the forefront of encouraging the world to move towards clean growth. We are determined to play a leading role in providing the technologies, innovations, goods and services of this future.

Clean Growth video


Future of mobility

Picture of a self driving car

We will become a world leader in shaping the future of mobility. We are on the cusp of a profound change in how we move people, goods and services around our towns, cities and countryside. This is driven by extraordinary innovation in engineering, technology and business models.

The UK’s road and rail network could dramatically reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants, congestion could be reduced through higher-density use of road space enabled by automated vehicles, and mobility could be available when we want it, where we want it and how we want it.

We will look for opportunities to improve customers’ experience, drive efficiency and enable people to move around more freely.

The future of mobility video