Today, we are no less short of challenges. The impacts of climate change, and the interwoven issues of energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability, for example, are all global in scale, complex in nature, and multidisciplinary in their requirements.
The UK government has offered a fresh take on some of these societal issues, setting out, within its Industrial Strategy, to improve living standards and economic growth through increasing productivity and driving growth across our country. It places stress on the need to build upon our research and innovation excellence with particular attention to areas such as clean energy, robotics and autonomous systems, biotechnology and medicine, and transformative digital technologies that include supercomputing and advanced modelling.
This presents many opportunities for the south-west of England and South Wales. Indeed we have existing expertise in many of these emerging fields of technology, an observation recently highlighted by the Science and Innovation Audit. In particular, the unique mix of maritime heritage, natural marine resources, and the physical infrastructure and track record associated with existing high-tech marine industries presents an ideal location for the establishing of a world-leading marine renewables test-bed. Indeed this has been achieved through the installation of the Wave Hub, the creation of FaBTest and COAST (Coastal, Ocean And Sediment Transport laboratory), and the formation of the research partnership PRIMaRE. The aim is to support the nascent MRE (marine renewable energy) industry, leading to the commercialisation of world-changing technologies. In turn, these developments will have synergies with underpinning technologies and digital specialisms such as artificial intelligence and robotics, big data, and environmental modelling. But sustained growth in these industries will require commensurate development of the human capital to fuel expansion.