Expert Exchange to bring top UK scientists, engineers, and technologists to DSIT


Just two months after the creation of the Department, the first science, engineering and technology specialists have accepted placements in the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) secondment scheme.

The Expert Exchange has been created to bring cutting-edge expertise from UK academia and industry to accelerate critical future research and technologies from quantum and data to overhaul how seconds are brought into Government, from science to semiconductors and life sciences. It aims to cement connections between the science, technology and research sectors and the Government as secondees gain first-hand experience working in a government department on placements of up to 9 months.

The secondments support DSIT’s core mission, which is to harness the full force of the UK Government behind science, innovation and technology to foster future industrial growth and ultimately improve the lives of every citizen.

Science and Technology Secretary Michelle Donnellan says:

Since my appointment to lead this Department, I have been clear that we need to harness the insights of the UK’s world-leading science and technology sector to further strengthen the UK’s place as a science and technology superpower, ensuring the best talent is behind our mission in this area.

So as well as being a first milestone, today marks the start of the UK’s best minds joining us through Expert Exchange and bringing their expertise to develop and expand exciting innovations in science and technology. I hope this new approach will strengthen cooperation between Government, industry and experts.

Building on the objectives of the Expert Exchange Science & Technology Framework, the Government’s plan cements the UK’s place as a science and technology superpower by 2030. In particular, these secondments will support the framework’s objectives of building the UK’s already enviable talent pool Competency base and creating a pro-innovation culture across the public sector.

Working primarily with the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering to identify high-performing, mid-career academics and engineers, the Expert Exchange will embed experts from the science and technology sector into the DSIT policy team for up to 9 months at a time.

In addition to contributing their skills and knowledge to the policy-making process, they will make a valuable cultural contribution to the Department as part of DSIT’s ambition to be a modern, agile organization that reflects the sectors it seeks to champion.

Dr Hayatun Sillem CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

Academy is delighted to support Expert Exchange. Technology and engineering have the potential to influence every part of government policy and delivery, so it is vital that Government can access the skills it needs and that engineers develop their understanding of how to engage with policymakers.

Bringing engineers to the Science, Innovation and Technology Department demonstrates the Government’s commitment to helping the UK thrive and meet global challenges through pro-innovation policies.

More people are expected to join the Department during the year, with work underway to bring in experts from industry and academia. Officials are also exploring whether secondments could become a two-way process, with DSIT civil servants potentially taking the initiative to recruit in academia or industry to better understand the sectors they set policy for.

The Department is also working with government science and engineering professions on the STEM Futures programme, which brings together partnerships with organizations across industry, academia and the public sector to create science and engineering exchange opportunities through networking, mentoring and secondment.

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Marta Lopez

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