Boris Johnson pledges to bring 'top digital and tech talent' to UK

Boris Johnson pledges to bring the world’s ‘top digital and tech talent’ to the UK to transform public services in drive spearheaded by Dominic Cummings

  • Downing Street is to launch a flagship ‘innovation fellowship programme’
  • Technology experts will be parachuted in to government department positions
  • Idea is brainchild of Dominic Cummings, who called for ‘misfits and weirdos’ to apply to join the civil service

The world’s ‘top digital and tech talent’ will be brought into the heart of government to transform public services, Boris Johnson will pledge today.

In a clear signal of the drive to revolutionise Whitehall, these experts will be parachuted in to government departments to provide a different perspective on how the country should be run.

The plan is the brainchild of Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, who last year famously called for ‘misfits and weirdos’ to apply to join the civil service.

He believes Whitehall is too full of arts graduates and warns that unless scientists are brought into government, Britain will lag behind as an economic power.

To this end, Downing Street will launch a flagship ‘innovation fellowship programme’ – and successful applicants will be allocated to government departments to accelerate the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and listen to new ideas from industry and academia.

In a clear signal of the drive to revolutionise Whitehall, these experts will be parachuted in to government departments to provide a different perspective on how the country should be run (stock photo)

It comes days after it emerged Sir Mark Sedwill would be leaving as Cabinet Secretary, the UK’s top civil servant, following claims of a power struggle with Mr Cummings.

The plan to recruit leading independent experts is part of a sweeping strategy to turn Britain into a ‘science superpower’, with a string of measures to encourage scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs to come here under an ‘Research & Development Roadmap’.

New immigration rules will mean foreign PhD students would be able to get a visa to stay here three years after they achieve their qualification. And a new Office for Talent will come up with ways to persuade the brightest and the best foreign students to come to the UK.

Meanwhile, £300million will be invested in scientific infrastructure across the UK.

Speaking in Dudley yesterday, Mr Johnson also promised to plough millions of pounds into a new US-style research body to make Britain a scientific superpower.

The plan would see the UK developing an answer to the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), which was set up by President Eisenhower in 1958 in response to the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik.

The plan is the brainchild of Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, who last year famously called for ‘misfits and weirdos’ to apply to join the civil service

ARPA was behind such technological leaps as the Global Positioning System and the forerunner to the internet.

The British version would research technology to tackle climate change, medicines and treatments for cancer, ways to fight antibiotic resistance and steps towards faster computers.

Mr Johnson said: ‘This summer, we will be creating a new science funding agency to back high risk, high reward projects. In the next 100 years the most successful societies will be the most innovative societies.’

Mr Cummings is known to be a key supporter of a UK scientific research body; his WhatsApp profile reads ‘GetBrexitDoneThenARPA’.

He wants to see cuts to unnecessary bureaucracy in attracting scientific research funding in a bid to make the UK a world-leading scientific superpower and attract global talent from across the world.

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