8 September, 2010
CIHE Task Force urges far-reaching changes to ensure UK is a leader in the creative, digital and information technology industries
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 The Fuse a report published by the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) today (Wednesday 8 September).
The landmark report presents a series of urgent recommendations from CIHE’s Creative, Digital and Information Technology industries Task Force – a group of influential figures from industry and academia co-chaired by Rona Fairhead, Chairman and CEO of the Financial Times Group, and Professor Christopher Snowden, Vice Chancellor of the University of Surrey.
The digital market is set to exceed $3 trillion revenue in the next four years, and entertainment and media $1.7 trillion. 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 and the Coalition Government’s first Comprehensive Spending Review just weeks away, The Fuse 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, CEO of the CIHE and Chair of the Digital TV Group, 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.”
Professor Christopher Snowden said: “The CDIT industries already play a very important part in the economy, with the UK a leading contributor to this global industry. This report captures the dynamic and vibrant nature of the businesses and the important contribution of higher education both in terms of developing skills and contributing to the growth of this sector. Most importantly it identifies the support needed to build on the successes in the UK and extend the contribution of these industries to the economy, ensuring future prosperity and growth.”
Dr Mike Short, Vice President, Research and Development, O2, added: “CDIT industries together should be the horizontal platform for growth and competitiveness for the UK in the 21st century.”
The Fuse 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. The report argues that CDIT start-ups could be helped by a review of current procurement policies and Research & Development tax credits. It points out that the world’s most successful innovation ‘ecosystem’ – Silicon Valley – benefitted at every stage of its development from government backing. Government intervention and public investment, it argues, are vital for leveraging private capital.
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. By taking a more interdisciplinary approach and working more closely with business, universities can provide high-quality graduates with a range of work skills and the flexibility and knowledge to remain innovative throughout their careers.
The report does not exempt business from playing its part in developing graduates capable of leading the UK’s CDIT industries. It calls on employers to collaborate closely with the universities that supply them. It also proposes that industry bodies such as PACT for TV and TIGA for games should promote volunteer schemes through which professionals can work with students and help them develop the employability skills they need for the CDIT jobs market.
Finally, The Fuse suggests that the inadequate ICT curriculum in schools is partly responsible for holding back the growth of the UK’s CDIT industries. The current curriculum concentrates on word processing and office productivity tools but fails to educate students about the vital computing principles which underpin games and internet services. The report says that by supporting the integration of creative and digital elements in the curriculum, schools can provide a more effective pipeline of talent to Higher Education and employment.
The full report ‘The Fuse: Igniting High Growth for Creative, Digital and Information Technology Industries in the UK’ can be downloaded here .
The full press release can be found here.
A list of all news coverage can be found here.