Budget 2017 UK: Robotics, 5G, broadband and everything promised for "disruptive" tech by Philip Hammond

 
Lynsey Barber
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Robotics in the UK will be a focus of new tech funding (Source: Getty)

Millions of pounds in fresh funding has been promised for disruptive new technologies such as robotics, electric cars and biotech by the government.

Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged new cash for development of the technologies in the Spring Budget along with plans to get started on creating a 5G network in the UK and boost broadband.

How much cash?

£270m for disruptive tech

This had been earmarked for technology of the future, such as: "cutting-edge artificial intelligence and robotics systems that will operate in extreme and hazardous environments, including off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining"; and battery design, development and manufacturing that "will power the next generation of electric vehicles, helping to tackle air pollution".

This is confirmation of the exact amount of the Industrial Strategy Fund - the UK's very own attempt to create a DARPA-style programme in the UK first announced in the Autumn Statement.

£16m for 5G (to start with)

It will go on creating a new innovation hub to test out applications of the superfast mobile network in a public private partnership. There will also be more funding down the road for future trials, and this tranch of cash is just the first phase.

£200m for broadband...

This has been set aside for the funding of local projects to implement fibre broadband in every part of the country.

... and another £400m

A new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund will be at least matched by private investors and will go toward help deployment of full-fibre broadband.

£250m for helping UK talent

This will come from the National Productivity Investment Fund to "build a pipeline of highly-skilled research talent". £90m of that will be additional funding for 1,000 PhD places in areas aligned with the Industrial Strategy, largely in STEM (science, technology, maths and engineering). Another £160m of that will be fellowships for early and mid-career researchers in these areas.

£100m to attract talent from abroad

Over the next for years this has been been earmarked for attracting the best and the brightest global talent to the UK and "to help maintain the UK’s position as a world‑leader in science and research".