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Cleantech, renewables to lead UK economy

green-energy-turbineCleantech and renewables are expected to become two of the most important sectors of the economy according to a survey of UK business leaders, commissioned by the department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The new survey questioned business leaders from across eight sectors and found that nearly half (43 per cent) of those questioned believe that cleantech will grow at the fastest pace by 2020, followed by science and technology (20 per cent) and media and entertainment (15 per cent).

The survey highlights how the current economic climate presents new opportunities for new areas of the economy to thrive.

Combined with a growing awareness to find solutions for some of society’s greatest challenges — from tackling climate change to supporting an ageing population — investing now in innovative, high-growth areas will be essential for bolstering the UK economy once recovery kicks in.

Driving the awareness, investment and skills required to power these high-growth markets is essential for Britain’s future, according to BIS. It’s therefore essential for both government and business to properly recognise and promote the importance of these sectors.

As part of meeting this need for recognition; Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson and entrepreneur James Caan recently launched the iawards — the first ever Government backed-awards to celebrate achievements in science, innovation and technology.

“Cleantech and renewables will play a huge part in helping the UK economy to grow sustainably, but we need to do more to encourage innovation in these and other high tech sectors,” said Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson. “And that means recognising our best innovators, those who are creating the household names of tomorrow. The iawards will do just that, this inaugural year and in years to come.”

Entries are due by 16 September.

“The UK is home to some of the most innovative minds in the world and we must continue to recognise and celebrate the work of these talented individuals,” Caan added. “The iawards are all about recognising British achievements, the visionaries behind them and showcasing new the latest developments that will make the UK a better place to live and work. In doing so, we will continue to draw investment, energy and skills to the high-growth industries that will drive our economy forward.”

Other findings from the BIS survey:

  • Seventy-three per cent of those polled believe that business and government must work together to promote the development of skills needed to bring the UK out of recession; and
  • One in five of those surveyed chose Web 2.0 as the best technological development of the last 10 years.

The iawards in association with QinetiQ includes 13 categories which are open to all organisations, but all entrants must specify the British involvement in any innovation — demonstrating that innovative thinking and development came from a British organisation or team.

Each entry must demonstrate how its innovative qualities relate to at least one of the following challenges:

  • Addressing the healthcare needs of an ageing society;
  • Increasing international security from tackling global poverty to minimising the threat of terrorism;
  • Preserving finite natural resources in the face of population growth and climate change; and
  • Delivering public services which make best use of new technologies.

They must also demonstrate that the innovation has an impact on one of the Government’s grand challenges for science.

Winners of the awards will be helped by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to meet potential business partners at key industry events such as the giant Medica trade fair in Germany and Technology World in Coventry this autumn. They will also receive public relations support from the iawards team. All shortlisted entries and the winners will also have exclusive access to the iawards logo.

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