Today, the prime minister has set out the first steps in the strategy to rebuild Britain and fuel economic recovery across the UK. In response, Professor Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, says:

“The Prime Minister has set out his ambition to rebuild our economy. It is critical that the UK has a clear plan for recovery. While the pandemic has exacted a heavy toll, it also provides an opportunity for positive disruption. Engineers have the skills, insights and ingenuity to help tackle many of these challenges in ways that optimise efficiency, economy, safety and reliability – and they have been central to the pandemic response, from manufacturing ventilators in record time to building the Nightingale hospitals.

“We strongly support the drive to elevate the UK to be a science and engineering superpower. Engineering will be central to the success of the proposed radical innovation agency, providing the essential connection between research and innovation to enable technological and commercial breakthroughs. Such a funding mechanism will require cultural change but could address the UK’s historic under-investment in innovation, unlock positive disruption and enable step changes in technology that could reverberate far across society.

“Net Zero is an extremely tough but necessary target, and the future of the UK’s decarbonisation and path to net zero is contingent on key decisions made by the government during this parliament. Three decades is a very short time to completely renew, upgrade, install and secure entire parts of the UK’s national infrastructure but if government is willing to take a truly holistic view of the system then the engineering community stands ready to deliver on the promise and potential of decarbonisation.”

Notes for Editors

The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone.

In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public.

Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.

For more information please contact: Victoria Runcie at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 0207 766 0620; email: victoria.runcie@raeng.org.uk