Department for Science, Innovation & Technology

Driving innovation that will deliver improved public services, create new better-paid jobs and grow the economy.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Labour
Lord Bassam of Brighton (Lab - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Science, Innovation and Technology)
Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Lab - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Science, Innovation and Technology)

Liberal Democrat
Lord Clement-Jones (LD - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Science, Innovation and Technology)

Scottish National Party
Carol Monaghan (SNP - Glasgow North West)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Science, Innovation and Technology)

Labour
Peter Kyle (Lab - Hove)
Shadow Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (Lab - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Science, Innovation and Technology)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Chi Onwurah (Lab - Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
Shadow Minister (Science, Research and Innovation)
Ministers of State
Andrew Griffith (Con - Arundel and South Downs)
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
Julia Lopez (Con - Hornchurch and Upminster)
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Viscount Camrose (Con - Excepted Hereditary)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
Saqib Bhatti (Con - Meriden)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
Scheduled Event
Wednesday 17th April 2024
11:30
Department for Science, Innovation & Technology
Oral questions - Main Chamber
17 Apr 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Science, Innovation and Technology (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Debates
Thursday 22nd February 2024
Select Committee Docs
None available
Select Committee Inquiry
None available
Written Answers
Wednesday 21st February 2024
No title given
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to support growth …
Secondary Legislation
None available
Bills
Wednesday 8th March 2023
Data Protection and Digital Information Bill 2022-23
A Bill to make provision for the regulation of the processing of information relating to identified or identifiable living individuals; …
Dept. Publications
Friday 23rd February 2024
09:30

Department for Science, Innovation & Technology Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
May. 03
Oral Questions
Feb. 19
Westminster Hall
Jan. 22
Adjournment Debate
View All Department for Science, Innovation & Technology Commons Contibutions

Bills currently before Parliament


A Bill to make provision for the regulation of the processing of information relating to identified or identifiable living individuals; to make provision about services consisting of the use of information to ascertain and verify facts about individuals; to make provision about access to customer data and business data; to make provision about privacy and electronic communications; to make provision about services for the provision of electronic signatures, electronic seals and other trust services; to make provision about the disclosure of information to improve public service delivery; to make provision for the implementation of agreements on sharing information for law enforcement purposes; to make provision about the keeping and maintenance of registers of births and deaths; to make provision about information standards for health and social care; to establish the Information Commission; to make provision about oversight of biometric data; and for connected purposes.

Commons Completed
Lords - 40%

Last Event - Carry-Over Motion
Wednesday 7th February 2024

Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament

Department for Science, Innovation & Technology has not passed any Acts during the 2019 Parliament

Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Trending Petitions
Petition Open
10,917 Signatures
(167 in the last 7 days)
Petitions with most signatures
Petition Open
10,917 Signatures
(167 in the last 7 days)
Department for Science, Innovation & Technology has not participated in any petition debates
View All Department for Science, Innovation & Technology Petitions

50 most recent Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department

16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent assessment she has made of the progress on procurement for the Project Gigabit contract for Cheshire.

As part of Project Gigabit, in July 2023 we launched a procurement to invite suppliers to bid for a contract to bring gigabit-capable broadband to premises in Cheshire that are unlikely to be reached by broadband suppliers' commercial rollout plans. We aim to award a contract to the successful supplier by the end of March 2024.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
7th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, following their consultation outcome A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation: government response, published on 6 February, where they stated that "it is now clear that the working group will not be able to agree an effective voluntary code" between AI developers and rights holders concerning copyright protected materials, what plans they have to ensure that creators' rights are protected.

The Government is engaging with AI and rights holder sectors to develop an approach that allows both sectors to grow together. Any approach will need to be underpinned by trust and transparency between parties, with greater transparency from AI developers about use of copyrighted material to train AI models and the attribution of outputs having an important role to play. The Government will soon set out further proposals on the way forward.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has set a deadline by which her Department must take steps once a risk is added to the AI risk register.

The appropriate mitigation plan for any risk depends on the nature of the risk itself.

DSIT’s Central AI Risk Function owns the AI Risk Register and is responsible for the processes by which we identify, assess and prepare for AI risks.

Mitigating these risks is a cross-Government effort and in many cases DSIT is not the lead Department or Risk Owner. We work extremely closely with other government departments, agencies and regulators to ensure we are preparing for these risks in a timely manner.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what discussions she has had with her international counterparts on AI safety.

I have had several such discussions including at the AI Safety Summit, during which I was pleased to meet with more than 20 Digital Ministers.

I have since engaged with my counterparts from Australia, Japan, France, the US and the EU, and I have recently met with my Canadian counterpart to sign an important new agreement on compute collaboration.

I will continue to discuss AI safety as we work towards the next Safety Summits hosted by the Republic of Korea and France.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to support growth in the tech sector.

DSIT’s mission is to secure the UK’s status as a world-leading science and technology superpower by 2030; with communities in every corner of the country benefitting from the bold new discoveries, strong economic growth and high-skilled, high-paid jobs this will unlock.

We are building from a position of strength. The UK was the third country in the world to build a $1 trillion tech sector, in addition to having the largest tech ecosystem in Europe, and creating 152 unicorns since 2000 (as of 23rd January 2024). In 2023, UK tech companies raised $21.3bn of investment, more than France ($9.2bn) and Germany ($8.2bn) combined.

However, we cannot rest on our laurels. That is why in January, the Secretary of State announced the new Scaleup Forum which will bring together a group of established founders and bold investors to advise the Government on what it can do unlock the growth potential of British scale-ups and ensure that the scalable businesses of today can become the tech giants of tomorrow.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to page 31 of the National Quantum Strategy published on 15 March 2023, what progress her Department has made on engaging with other leading quantum nations to exchange knowledge on quantum programmes, developments, regulation, and security.

The Government has signed bilateral agreements for deeper collaboration on quantum technologies with leading, like-minded quantum nations: the US, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands.

The Government also engages multilaterally on quantum in forums including the OECD, World Economic Forum, the Open Quantum Institute hosted at CERN, NATO, and AUKUS, and participates in multiple international standard development organisations.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to improve working conditions for people working in research and development.

Since publication of the R&D People & Culture Strategy, the Government has been working with the R&D sector to take action that will improve the culture and conditions of people working in R&D. UKRI has delivered actions as part of the New Deal for Postgraduate Research, including reviewing its Training Grant Terms & Conditions to support individuals’ physical and mental wellbeing and increasing the minimum PhD stipend. UKRI chairs a quarterly sectoral forum, which works to tackle and prevent bullying and harassment by convening the R&D sector to create healthy, welcoming and safe working conditions.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2024 to Question 10644 on Artificial Intelligence and ICT: Postgraduate Education, how much industry co-funding (a) for scholarship funding and (b) excluding in-kind support has been secured by her Department since November 2023.

In November 2023 DSIT, through the Office for Students, published the latest data on industry funding for the AI conversion course and scholarship scheme as part of ongoing monitoring and evaluation. The next interim evaluation report is due to be published in June 2024 and will contain the latest breakdown of in-kind and scholarship funding commitments secured from industry, including the period since November 2023.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to mitigate risks which have been recorded in the her Department's AI risk register.

The AI Risk Register is owned and managed by the Central AI Risk Function (CAIRF). CAIRF has been established as part of our central functions which support coordination of the AI governance landscape. CAIRF conducts central risk assessment, monitors identified risks included on the register, and identifies relevant risk owners across government. DSIT will be responsible for cross-cutting mitigations to AI risks.

We are working with departments and regulators on how they best respond to AI risks within their remits. Many regulators are already taking action in line with our principles-based approach, such as the CMA’s review into foundation models.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to her Department's response to the AI regulation White Paper entitled A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation: government response, published on 6 February 2024, what her Department's criteria is for identifying a risk and recording it on the AI risk register.

The central AI risk function will maintain a holistic view of risks across the AI ecosystem. It will look at risk factors that cut across many risks, such as model capabilities, adoption, release practices, use cases, actors, and other vulnerabilities as well as the extent to which existing mitigations or resilience reduce the risk, and where gaps remain.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to her Department's response to the AI regulation White Paper entitled A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation: government response, published on 6 February 2024, how many civil servants in (a) her Department and (b) across Government are working on the risk register of AI risks.

We currently have 10 officials working on AI risks in the central AI risk function, which owns the AI Risk Register. This is part of the wider AI Policy Directorate and AI Safety Institute of roughly 200 officials that includes teams covering AI regulation, strategy and risk, UK capability and international engagement. In addition, there are wider risk owning teams in at least 15 other Government Departments, who work on AI risks in their remits. We do not hold resourcing numbers for other Governments Departments.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to her Department's response to the AI regulation White Paper entitled A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation: government response, published on 6 February 2024, if he will publish the list of risks on the Department's AI risk register.

To track identified risks, we have established an initial AI Risk Register which is owned by the Central AI Risk Function. The AI risk register lists individual risks associated with AI and outlines their likelihood and impact.

In the White Paper we committed to engaging and publishing the risk register. From Spring 2024 we will begin a call for evidence on the risks recorded on the AI risk register.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to update the law with safeguards to prevent the creation and distribution online of manipulated and faked images.

The Government recognises the challenges that digitally manipulated media and faked images can pose and the Government’s legislative response has been designed to tackle the most egregious forms of this content.

This content will fall in scope of the Online Safety Act where it constitutes illegal content, including illegal misinformation or disinformation, or content which is harmful to children. Where companies become aware of illegal content in scope of the Act, they will need to take steps to remove it. For example, the False Communications Offence, which commenced on 31 January 2024, captures manipulated and faked images where the sender of such content is aware it is untrue and intends to cause non-trivial psychological or physical harm to the recipient. The Foreign Interference Offence has also been added as a priority offence in the Act, forcing companies to remove a wide range of state-sponsored disinformation, including manipulated media and faked images.

The Online Safety Act has also introduced new intimate image abuse offences, which commenced on 31 January. These now mean it is illegal to share without consent or threaten to share intimate images, including AI created or manipulated intimate images.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the process for the licencing of standard essential patents is equitable for small and medium enterprises.

The Government recognises the growing importance of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) to the UK economy. The Government has been actively working since 2021 to better understand how the SEPs framework functions to ensure the balance between innovation and competition is maintained. This included launching a questionnaire for small and medium businesses (SMEs) in March 2023, to better understand their SEP licensing experiences. Subsequently, the IPO presented recommendations to Ministers who are currently reviewing those recommendations with a view to ensuring Government helps implementers, especially SMEs, navigate and better understand the SEPs ecosystem and Fair Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) licensing.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to help tackle digital astroturfing on social media.

The Government recognises the range of tactics which could be employed to spread mis- and disinformation and the threat that these can pose. DSIT’s National Security Online Information Team (NSOIT) analyses coordinated attempts to artificially manipulate the online information environment, working with a range of partners, including social media platforms, civil society groups, academia, and international partners, to tackle it.

Digital astroturfing, amongst other techniques sometimes used by state actors to interfere with UK society, will be captured by the Foreign Interference Offence. This has been added as a priority offence in the Online Safety Act and will capture a wide range of state-sponsored disinformation and state-backed operations. Companies will have a legal duty to take proactive action to prevent users from encountering material that amounts to an offence of Foreign Interference, which could include content linked to digital astroturfing, and minimise how long any such content is present on their services.

Under the Act, Ofcom’s Disinformation Advisory Committee is empowered to conduct research and build understanding on mis- and disinformation related issues, which may include the threats posed by digital astroturfing. In addition, Ofcom’s updated statutory duty to promote media literacy includes specific duties to raise the public’s awareness of how to keep themselves and others safe online, including by understanding the nature and impact of mis- and disinformation. This could include initiatives related to specific malicious tactics.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
29th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the withdrawal of copper wire land lines because of the roll out of full fibre does not leave some homes and schools without access to communication, emergency messages or 999 calls in the event of a power cut which disables both their home power and the power supply to local mobile phone masts.

The analogue landline system, also known as the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is a privately-owned telecoms network and the decision to upgrade it has been taken by the telecoms industry. The industry’s decision to upgrade the PSTN is due to necessity, as the network is increasingly unreliable and prone to failure, with some telecoms companies finding it difficult to source certain spare parts required to maintain or repair connections. Therefore, keeping customers on the ageing PSTN system presents risks in itself.

DSIT officials engage with Communications Providers on a regular basis to understand the plans they have in place for the transition. Ofcom, the UK’s telecommunications regulator, has also issued guidance on how telecoms companies should fulfil their regulatory obligations in the event of a power cut.

This guidance states that providers should have at least one solution available that enables access to emergency organisations for a minimum of one hour in the event of a power outage in the premises. These are minimum standards, and in practice many providers are offering solutions which exceed them, such as longer life battery back-up units, 4G enabled handsets or satellite enabled communication units. The DSIT Secretary of State also asked Ofcom to review the general resilience of telecommunications services in the event of prolonged power outages. In response, in December 2023, Ofcom launched a consultation on the resilience of the sector that includes a separate call for input on power backup for mobile radio access networks. The consultation stated that 65% of power outages lasted for less than 1 hour.

In December 2023, DSIT agreed a Charter of Commitments with the UK’s leading Communications Providers to secure additional commitments to protect vulnerable consumers through the transition process. As part of the Charter, Communication Providers have agreed to work towards going beyond the standard minimum of one hour resilience.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
29th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what are the eligibility criteria for businesses to apply for Horizon research programme funding; and how those grants will assist them.

Our association to Horizon Europe means that UK researchers and businesses, and their international partners can now apply for funding, and are strongly encouraged to do so. Any organisation can apply for Horizon Europe funding providing they meet the criteria for the specific calls of relevance: https://rea.ec.europa.eu/horizon-europe-who-should-apply_en

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to help increase the number of potential employees with sufficient (a) software and (b) data skills in the labour market.

The government is investing a total of £3.8bn in skills in England by 2024-25 and at the most recent SR we quadrupled the scale of free Skills Bootcamps in digital skills, including software and data skills.

My department recognises that Digital Skills shortages cannot be tackled by government alone, which is why we established the Digital Skills Council in 2022. Government offers a range of free in digital skills, including software and data skills.

DSIT is taking proactive steps to address the distinct skills needs of our priority technology sectors. For example, through the £30 million AI and Data Science Conversion Course programme.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to the survey on Public attitudes to animal research, last conducted for the Office for Life Sciences in 2018, when her Department plans to commission a further survey.

The department does not currently have plans to run the Public Attitudes in Animal Research Survey. Policy teams are working with a variety of external and internal stakeholders to determine the future of the survey.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has made a recent assessment of the adequacy of the application process for grants from Innovate UK; and if she will take steps to help ensure that small businesses are not disadvantaged in that application process.

Innovate UK (IUK) offers extensive support services and funding opportunities for businesses of all sizes, including micro and SMEs. In 22/23 it supported 3,000 SMEs with grants, a 47% increase from 2020.

IUK’s processes meet Cabinet Office Grant Standards, and are audited internally and externally to ensure they are fair and robust. IUK recently published a Declaration to Support Businesses to Grow and Scale setting out how it is refining its approach to supporting businesses. This included pledging to halve the average time to process grant applications.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how many ministerial red boxes belonging to her Department have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in each of the last three years.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology was established in February 2023 as a result of the Machinery of Government changes, so records only exist for one year.

The following table includes the number of lost or stolen ministerial red boxes from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology for 2023.

2023

Lost

0

Stolen

0

The departmental security unit records and investigates each reported loss from the Department. If appropriate, the police are invited to undertake further inquiries.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of funding for the roll out of fibre broadband.

As of January 2024, ThinkBroadband reports that over 80% of premises in the UK can now access a gigabit capable connection. To date, most of this rollout has been achieved by the commercial market.

Government acknowledges that there are premises that remain outside of the scope of the commercial build plans despite the commercial market going further than originally expected. These premises are some of the hardest and most expensive to reach in the UK and therefore require government subsidy if we are to achieve our ambition of nationwide gigabit coverage by 2030.

Project Gigabit is the government’s £5 billion investment in ensuring the premises which would otherwise be left out of commercial plans, get access to a gigabit capable connection. As of December 2023, we have 16 Project Gigabit contracts in place worth approximately £667 million of government subsidy. This, combined with the ongoing procurements equals more than £2 billion of investment to support the deployment of gigabit-capable broadband. We expect more procurements to go live and further contracts to be awarded and signed within the coming months.

For further updates on progress, including information on Project Gigabit procurements, Building Digital UK (BDUK) releases a quarterly update on progress towards our mission of nationwide coverage by 2030 with the latest being published in December 2023.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
23rd Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they will take to protect small digital technology and online news companies from competition from big technology digital companies.

The Government is committed to supporting the growth and dynamism of the digital technology sector and the sustainability of the online press sector. The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill will establish new, faster and effective tools to address the far-reaching power of the biggest tech firms.

The new legislation will equip the Competition and Markets Authority to address both the causes and consequences of market power in digital markets, and make sure tech start-ups are able to enter and grow in new markets. It will also help rebalance the relationship between major platforms and those who rely on them, including press publishers, through tailored conduct requirements and pro-competition interventions. We anticipate the Bill will receive Royal Assent in spring this year. This is subject to Parliamentary time and scrutiny.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to (a) monitor and (b) increase the demographic diversity of the space sector workforce; and what steps she is taking to tackle skills shortages in the space sector.

The 2023 Science and Technology Framework highlights the importance of a more diverse range of people entering science and technology roles.

The annual Size & Health of the UK Space Industry Report monitors gender in the workforce through an optional industrial survey, and government is exploring ways to expand beyond gender in future iterations. The UK Space Agency is also further developing monitoring and evaluation plans for its Inspiration Programme.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what her planned timetable is for the publication of the Space Sector Plan.

The Space Sector plan will be published in March 2024.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how many spin-outs from public sector bodies the Government Office for Technology Transfer has supported with (a) financial grants and (b) knowledge asset management advice.

The Government Office for Technology Transfer (GOTT) does not directly support spinout companies. GOTT provides funding, advice, networks and guidance to public sector organisations to support the exploitation of public sector Knowledge Assets (such as intellectual property and data) to deliver economic, social, and financial benefits to the UK.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how her Department evaluates (a) each of the nine Catapults within the Catapult Network and (b) the Catapult Network as a whole.

Innovate UK has put in place comprehensive monitoring and evaluation frameworks for each Catapult for the next five years. These will provide robust evidence of impact and value for money for the public funding provided, with regular data analysis and reporting.

Evidence of impact at network level is published at https://www.enterpriseresearch.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/ERC-Insight-Evaluating-the-medium-term-business-performance-effects-of-engaging-with-the-Catapults-network-VaninoRoper.pdf and https://www.enterpriseresearch.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/ERC-Report-Catapulting-into-the-Innovation-System-Vanino-Roper.pdf.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to the UK Innovation Strategy published on 14 November 2021, what steps her Department has taken with NESTA to identify and test ways to improve and scale up the opportunities that young people have to develop innovation skills and mindsets from an early age.

My Department works with a range of partners, including NESTA, to unlock untapped talent for innovation in the UK through initiatives such as the Young Innovators Programme, and Women in Innovation Awards.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to the UK Innovation Strategy published on 14 November 2021, what funding the Government has provided for a University Commercialisation and Innovation Policy Evidence Unit in Cambridge to build the UK’s evidence base on commercialisation.

Research England has awarded the University Commercialisation and Innovation Policy Evidence Unit £2,449,883 in two grants running from July 2020 to March 2025.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what the cost to the public purse was of her Department's expenditure on (a) space research and (b) promoting the commercialism of space research.

The Department for Science Innovation and Technology supports expenditure on space research as well as promoting the commercialisation of space research. The information is not available in the format requested as the Department’s spend cannot be accurately broken down into these two categories.

The UK Space Agency is the executive agency responsible for delivering the UK’s civil space programme. UKSA’s total budget, including earth observation, for the current spending review period is nearly two billion pounds.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) supports a diverse portfolio of research and innovation initiatives. Approximately £540m of the UKRI budget covered by the current spending review period includes research on space.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department has made a recent assessment of the potential impact of the current threshold for higher education innovation funding on smaller universities and colleges; and whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of reducing that threshold.

Research England are reviewing the level of allocation threshold used as part of the formula for making Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) allocations which is currently £250,000. An update will be provided prior to the start of the next academic year.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to help improve 4G and 5G coverage in (a) Yorkshire and (b) East Yorkshire constituency.

This Government is taking steps to improve both 4G and 5G coverage across the country.

Across Yorkshire and the Humber our £1bn agreement with the industry to deliver the Shared Rural Network (SRN) will see 4G coverage from all four Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) rise to 90%, up from 81% when the programme began in 2020. 4G coverage from at least one MNO will increase to 99%, up from 95%.

In East Yorkshire, 4G coverage already stands at 93% from all four MNOs and almost 100% from at least one MNO. While the SRN is focused on areas with poorer coverage, it is not the only focus for infrastructure investment for mobile connectivity. In addition, the MNOs independently invest around £2 billion annually across the UK in enhancing and improving their networks.

The Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, published in April 2023, set out the Government’s vision for wireless connectivity and shared a new ambition for nationwide coverage of higher quality standalone 5G in all populated areas by 2030. This provides a long-term ambition to help the private sector invest in 5G networks by supporting competition, driving down deployment costs and driving the take-up of innovative, 5G-enabled tech by the business and the public sector.


The Department provides extensive guidance for local authorities and operators to help facilitate broadband and mobile deployment through the Digital Connectivity Portal. We have also taken steps to make it easier and cheaper for operators to deploy 4G and 5G. This includes reforming the planning system in England. Alongside this, measures within the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022, will support the deployment of wireless infrastructure, including 4G and 5G.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
25th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent discussions officials in her Department have had with social media companies on safeguarding users from scams; and what steps she is taking to protect users from scam content.

My department has regular meetings with online platforms on a number of issues. The Government is committed to protecting users from online scams and fraud, which is why new regulations were introduced through the Online Safety Act.

The Act gives user-to-user and search service providers new duties for tackling fraudulent content. They will need to conduct risk assessments and ensure they put in place systems and processes that proactively tackle it. The largest user-to-user and search service providers have additional duties to proactively tackle fraudulent advertising.

Ofcom will set out details about how providers can comply with their duties in codes of practice.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what support Innovate UK provides to start-up businesses that are not associated with universities.

Innovate UK has developed a portfolio of products and services to support all UK start-ups along the innovation pathway. These can be found at: Innovation Hub which provides a complete picture of its innovation offer to UK businesses.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what guidance the Government provides on whether universities' support for spin-outs is considered a Government subsidy for the purposes of international treaties.

The government’s published guidance for subsidy control is relevant for all public authorities, including universities where applicable. This can be read online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-subsidy-control-statutory-guidance and at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/complying-with-the-uks-international-obligations-on-subsidy-control-guidance-for-public-authorities

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether any refurbishments have been made to ministerial offices in her Department in each of the last two years.

The Department was created on 7 February 2023. Since then, the ministerial offices were moved to collocate them with the Department’s Secretary of State, but this did not involve the refurbishment of any office space.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has had recent discussions with (a) the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero and (b) Ofcom on energy networks' access to the radio spectrum in the context of the (i) smart meter rollout and (ii) implementation of a smart energy network.

DSIT Ministers have not had any discussions with the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero or Ofcom on either of these topics.

DSIT officials are currently discussing the connectivity needs for future energy networks with officials at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero working together to analyse the associated use cases and options for the connectivity solutions. The Departments are also working with Ofcom, should additional spectrum be required to support this.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government (1) how they are measuring progress on the respiratory mission, announced as part of the 2021 Life Sciences Vision, and (2) what progress has been made

The Government has engaged with stakeholders to define and develop the scope of work to be undertaken under the Respiratory Mission.

Meanwhile, the Government has committed funding to support respiratory research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research and the Medical Research Council. This investment is aligned to the aims and ambitions of the proposed Respiratory Mission, outlined in the Life Science Vision, to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with respiratory disease.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will (1) appoint a chair to lead the respiratory mission within the Life Sciences Vision, and (2) provide funding to enable the delivery of the respiratory mission as it has done in the case of the cancer, obesity and mental health missions.

The Government has engaged with stakeholders to define and develop the scope of work to be undertaken under the Respiratory Mission, which aims to reduce the mortality and morbidity from respiratory disease in the UK and globally. At this point a chair of the Respiratory Mission has not been appointed.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government when they will publish detailed implementation plans, covering those health missions within the Life Sciences Vision, as undertaken at its launch in July 2021.

Four of the healthcare Missions published in the 2021 Life Sciences Vision: Dementia, Cancer, Obesity and Mental Health, as well as the Addiction Mission (announced as part of the 2021 Drugs Plan, ‘From harm to hope’) have recruited Chairs, have comprehensive delivery plans and objectives, and are beginning to make substantial investments to operationalise these. Progress on the delivery of the Missions, and the related investments, have and will continue to be made available online at a regular cadence.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
17th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Viscount Camrose of 19 December 2023 (HL1000, HL1001), whether they can explain why geographical coverage was chosen as the goal for the Shared Rural Network of telephone masts, instead of population coverage.

The decision to choose geographic coverage as the preferred target for the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme reflects the longstanding commitment from the government to improve geographic mobile coverage. This includes a commitment to extend mobile coverage to 95% of the UK landmass in the 2017 manifesto.

Specifying a geographic target for the SRN recognises the need for people to be connected whilst they are on the move, and reflects our desire to end the digital divide between urban and rural areas. It ensures that the programme remains focused on delivering benefits to the most rural parts of the country.

There are a number of expected benefits of improving mobile coverage in rural areas which have often been left behind. Masts in rural areas will improve the safety of those living, working and visiting the area, enabling 4G to facilitate 999 calls for the first time. Other benefits include economic and productivity growth, as well as wider social benefits including improved consumer choice, tourism benefits and rural/urban equity.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what targets her Department has set to help achieve the Government's commitments on net zero.

The Government set out how we would meet our commitments in the Net Zero Strategy in 2021 which included a detailed breakdown of actions required across all sectors in the economy. This was updated in 2023 through the publication of 'Powering Up Britain'. The UK has halved its emissions, ahead of every other major economy, and we have grown our economy by over 70% since 1990. The UK over-achieved against the first and second carbon budgets, and the latest projections show that we are on track to meet the third. We have one of the most ambitious decarbonisation targets in the world, and we have set more stretching targets for 2030 than most countries. We plan to cut emissions by 68% by 2030, which is more than the EU, Japan or the United States.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will provide guidance to local authorities on the maximum number of telegraph poles that can be erected in local areas per number of households.

As I stated to the House on 15 January 2024, duties and obligations relating to telecommunications installations are included in the Electronic Communications Code (Conditions and Restrictions) Regulations 2003 (“the 2003 Regulations”).

In addition, there is a Code of Practice (The Cabinet Siting and Pole Siting Code of Practice 2016) in place relating to the siting of cabinet and pole installations. This provides guidance on ways operators can ensure these installations are placed appropriately, and that local authorities and communities are engaged with regarding proposed installations.

In April 2023, I wrote to all Local Planning Authorities, asking that they notify Ofcom, and provide evidence of any instances, where they believe operators have failed to comply with their duties under 2003 Regulations. I also wrote to the Chief Executive of Ofcom, the independent regulator for telecommunications operators.

My Department does not, however, provide guidance on the number of telegraph poles that can be erected in local areas. This, like any other form of network build, will depend on a number of market factors, including the number of households to be served, availability of existing infrastructure and operators’ commercial plans.

As I previously stated, the Government believes that communities benefit enormously from the deployment of high quality digital infrastructure, with all the economic and social benefits it brings. We want to make sure that deployment happens efficiently, but at the same time, in ways that make sure the impact on communities and the environment is taken into account and broad support is maintained for the rollout of this critical infrastructure.

That is why my Department has taken steps to optimise the use of existing infrastructure. The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022 introduced new measures to make it easier for operators to upgrade and share the use of existing underground ducts and telegraph poles, reducing the need for future installations.

We are nonetheless aware of ongoing concerns about the installation of telegraph poles. We are in discussions with Ofcom regarding this, and are considering steps we can take to address these concerns and to promote collaborative engagement between operators and communities.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
17th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the risk of AI-generated misinformation in elections.

The Government has in place established systems and processes, to protect the democratic integrity of the UK. We are working extensively across Government to ensure we are ready to rapidly respond to any threats to our democratic processes. The Government’s Defending Democracy Taskforce seeks to protect the democratic integrity of the UK from threats of foreign interference, by engaging across government and with Parliament, the UK’s intelligence community, the devolved administrations, local authorities, the Electoral Commission, the private sector, and civil society. The threat to democracy from AI was discussed at the AI Safety Summit in November 2023, reinforcing the Government’s commitment to international collaboration on this shared challenge.

The Government is working closely with social media platforms to ensure they are taking action to protect the integrity of the next election. Implementation of the Online Safety Act and the Foreign Interference Offence will make a significant difference here. For example, under the Online Safety Act, all companies subject to the safety duties will be required to take action against illegal content online, including misinformation and disinformation where it amounts to a criminal offence, and will be required to take steps to remove this content - including where it is produced by relevant AI bots - if they become aware of it on their services.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
22nd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will take steps to ensure that female patients are included in (a) medical research and (b) clinical trials for (i) dementia and (ii) early on-set Alzheimer's disease funded by her Department.

UKRI, through the Medical Research Council is working to ensure that female patients are included in medical research and clinical trials for all conditions, including by instituting a requirement for both sexes to be included in research studies by default. MRC's embedding diversity in research design policy requires researchers to consider characteristics such as gender, age and ethnicity - as well as sex - in their projects. MRC is working with the MESSAGE (Medical Science Sex and Gender Equality) initiative to co-design a sex and gender policy framework which could guide organisations throughout the health and biomedical research sector.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to the UK Innovation Strategy, last updated on 14 November 2023, how many Prosperity Partnerships have been launched as of 24 January 2024.

There have been 66 partnerships across five funding rounds since 2017. A further nine partnerships were created in 2023 as part of a pilot scheme for early-stage business-academia collaborations.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to the UK Innovation Strategy, last updated on 14 November 2023, what progress she has made on establishing a new Innovation Missions Programme.

The Science and Technology Framework confirmed a new £250 million investment for missions to build on the UK’s global leadership in three transformational technologies: AI, quantum technologies, and engineering biology. This has since been expanded with an initial investment of £70m for a Future telecoms’ mission, and the announcement of the long-term National Quantum Strategy Missions in the autumn statement.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how much funding her Department has provided to successful applicants to the European Research Council Proof of Concept scheme to carry out work in UK research institutions since November 2021.

The Government chose to associate to Horizon Europe because Horizon Europe will strengthen UK science and boost economic growth. The European Research Council (ERC) is a key part of this as 63% of research funded through the ERC grants leads to a major scientific advance.

The UK Government Horizon Europe Guarantee remains active and covers all remaining Horizon Europe grant calls up to and including work programme 2023 irrespective of the call closing or grant signature date. This includes the ERC Proof of Concept. As of 31 December 2023, 371 grant offer letters, worth £549 million have been issued to ERC applicants under the Guarantee.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing funding to the five successful researchers from the latest 2023 funding round of the European Research Council Proof of Concept scheme to undertake work in UK research institutions.

The Government chose to associate to Horizon Europe because Horizon Europe will strengthen UK science and boost economic growth. The European Research Council (ERC) is a key part of this as 63% of research funded through the ERC grants leads to a major scientific advance.

The UK Government Horizon Europe Guarantee remains active and covers all remaining Horizon Europe grant calls up to and including work programme 2023 irrespective of the call closing or grant signature date. This includes the ERC Proof of Concept. As of 31 December 2023, 371 grant offer letters, worth £549 million have been issued to ERC applicants under the Guarantee.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)