Digital technology is an economic priority

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The UK’s future economic prosperity relies, in part, on the ability of government, industry and universities to spark rapid growth in its Creative, Digital and Information Technology businesses, according to an industry and university report.

The Fuse, a report published by the Council for Industry and Higher Education, recommends that Stem subjects, including science and maths, should be extended to digital technology, as the digital industries will soon represent a $3tn (£1.9tn) market.

In the wake of this growth new industries have emerged that are simultaneously creative, digital and IT focused. With technology and content industries currently contributing £102 billion in gross value added to the economy. The report argues it is vital that the UK claims a leading position in this fiercely competitive, fast-paced global market.

The report’s editor Dr David Docherty, said: “We believe that the UK has a window of opportunity in which to establish itself in the highly competitive, multi-trillion dollar CDIT market or be left trailing behind countries such as China, the US, Japan and Australia.

“We have to compete hard for our share of this revenue. To do this the UK Government must recognise CDIT industries as a national priority in the same way as it has science, engineering and manufacturing. UK universities and businesses, meanwhile, need to learn from and replicate the initiatives and innovation environments which brought the world Google, Amazon and Facebook.”

The report calls on the Government and its agencies to acknowledge CDIT as a strategic priority alongside STEM and to discourage transactional business-university relationships which place a heavy emphasis on patents and spin-outs rather than nurturing start-ups.

For their part, universities and funding bodies are urged to find better ways of working with graduate-rich small and medium-sized businesses in the CDIT industries and to prioritise technology-heavy CDIT programmes.

At school level the report calls for a shake-up of the ICT curriculum which it accuses of holding back the development of creative digital industries.

"The fusion of technology with the creative and digital industries is as vital to the UK's economic growth as that of science, engineering and manufacturing," says the report.

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