Speech

The UK is a leading innovation nation

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Transcript of the speech by Ian Felton, British Deputy High Commissioner, Bangalore at the 9th CII India Innovation Summit on Wednesday 7 August.

Ian Felton

Greeting to dignitaries,

The UK is delighted to be the partner country for the 9th India Innovation Summit 2013.

In the next few minutes I’d like to:

a) set out briefly why the UK has the credentials to be India’s partner of choice on innovation and business

b) say a little about what we are doing already together and what is coming up in the near future and

c) close with a positive story on how the visa system is helping drive our work together.

The UK has the credentials to be India’s partner of choice on innovation and business

  • UK is among the world’s top research nations - leading innovations, with an excellent research and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

  • UK has the most efficient research base in the G8, in terms of citations per unit of R&D spend

  • UK has moved up the global ranks to 3rd in the 2013 Global Innovation Index. And is described as having a well balanced innovation performance. The index recognises innovation as a driver of economic growth and prosperity.

  • India leads the group of Central and Southern Asian countries. A large part of that result will no doubt be due to work done in Bangalore. So, we are natural partners.

  • Four UK universities (Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and University College London) rank in the top ten in the world, with several more in the top 50

  • UK has won 77 Nobel Prizes in science and technology, more than any country except the US.

  • Many of the world’s major scientific and medical breakthroughs, industry firsts and cutting-edge designs and technologies began in the UK;

E.g., The world wide web, the discovery of DNA and the invention of the ARM chip found in most smart phones and tablets. ARM now does much of that work here in Bangalore.

The role of government in this debate is important but its role is really as an enabler. Listening to companies, setting a positive the policy environment and then, frankly, getting out of the way.

  • In the UK we have a Government Innovation and Research Strategy. It provides significant financial support (includes £75 million package of investment) to fund research-intensive and innovative SMEs.

  • The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is the main channel through which Government supports business led technology and innovation

  • Over the next few years the TSB will invest over £1 billion in high-technology sectors.

  • This includes creating a network (Catapult Centres) to commercialise new and emerging technologies: covering high value manufacturing, cell therapy, offshore renewable energy, satellite applications, connected digital economy, future cities and transport systems.

  • The UK tax system is designed to demonstrate how keen we are to work with you.

  • The UK tax system will be the most competitive in the G20. The main rate of Corporation Tax is being lowered to 20% by April 2015 the joint lowest level in the G20 (editor’s note: others are Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey).

  • Finally, the UK is also implementing a “Patent Box” with tax advantages to encourage innovative companies to locate in the UK (if they are creating high-value jobs and activity associated with the development, manufacture and exploitation of patents in the UK).

What we are doing already together and what is coming up in the near future

UK and India are jointly committed over £100 million for joint research projects on health, energy, climate change and water.

Announcement: The UK’s Technology Strategy Board and India’s Global Innovation and Technology Alliance, a joint CII and Department of Science and Technology initiative, will publish a call for joint industrial research proposals later this month.

Under the UK-India Education and Research Initiative the TSB’s succesful Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme will also be brought to India in a few months. The aim is to use a tested method to help academia and industry work together.

In September the UK India Oncology trade delegation will focus on innovation. There is a lot of R&D going on across the world in cancer medicines. Innovation is important to make this research and treatment affordable and accessible to all. This is the focus for their discussion in Bangalore.

The British Deputy High Commission office here in Bangalore is heavily focused on Science and Innovation and encouraging Trade & Investment in the UK (UKTI).

We have a professional team to help you decide the best route to trade with the UK or invest in the UK. My colleagues are around the hall and at the UK stand. I encourage you to talk to them and see just how welcoming we are.

They can give information on expanding an existing business; identify local skills; industry clusters; universities; incentives and funding support.

Once your business has a presence in the UK, we consider it a UK company and open to UKTI’s global trade services to help you launch into other international markets.

Our investment location services are independent, highly professional and free of charge.

To conclude:

A positive story on how the visa system is helping drive our work together.

As the British Prime Minister, David Cameron has made clear

The UK wants the brightest and the best to help create the jobs and growth that will enable Britain to compete in the global race.

So, for example, if you are an overseas businessperson seeking to invest and trade with world class businesses, one of the thousands of legitimate students keen to study at our first-class universities or a tourist visiting our world class attractions, be in no doubt: Britain is open for business.

You may have read about the one of the options being considered to tackle immigration abuse through a financial bond. The details of how that pilot scheme may work are not yet announced.

But we do know that if introduced it will be targeted at only the small number of visa applicants assessed to pose a high risk of overstaying. Every country protects its borders and it is normal for the UK to do the same. So, any bond scheme will not cut across the UK’s wish to be open for business, students and tourists.

The clear and positive message is that most people who want a UK visa get one. The facts back this up.

For example, a fact not well known is that 97% of Indians applying for a business visa get one. Similar numbers apply to intracompany transfers. Those are a few of the facts and I think it shows the bilateral relationship is in good shape.

I am delighted to have been in Bangalore for the last two years. I have travelled around the historically rich and delightful state of Karnataka for tourism and business.

I intend to carry on doing that in the next two years. If you want follow how I’m doing or give me feedback on UK priorities in Karnataka please follow me on Twitter at @dhcianfelton.

Photos of the summit

Published 7 August 2013