How can cutting edge innovations in science and technology address pressing policy challenges at home and abroad?
The way in which we do innovation are changing, technologies based on fundamental new science or engineering promise to transform our society. These technologies can offer tantalising opportunities to solve big problems from air pollution to climate change, antimicrobial resistance to food insecurity using Artificial Intelligence, advances in quantum technologies and drug discovery.
Imperial Policy Forum’s 'Transformative Technologies’ theme looks at the barriers to unlocking the opportunities these technologies offer, both in terms of creating more dynamic innovation ecosystem, as well as the policy and regulatory implications of emerging technologies like AI and quantum.
Understanding and supporting the innovation ecosystem
We work with colleagues in the Imperial Business School and the Institute for Deep Tech Entrepreneurship to understand the challenges that the next generation of entrepreneurs are facing in commercialising new technologies.
Advances in quantum technologies will drive future breakthroughs in national security, finance tech, drug discovery, and many other areas of national life. In addition, the UK’s early international lead in quantum developments have put us in a great position to be the home for innovative quantum-based businesses in the future. Imperial Policy Forum works with the College’s QuEST project (Quantum Engineering Science and Technology) to bring together the deep quantum expertise across Imperial with relevant policymakers.
As Artificial Intelligence continues to grow in both complexity and scale of application across the UK, it is essential that policy decisions relating to AI are informed by the best available evidence. Imperial Policy Forum works with AI experts across the College, including those affiliated with the Artificial Intelligence Network and Imperial-X, to ensure that policymakers and regulators are fully briefed on the latest available evidence.
'Truly, Madly, Deeply' - Imperial & Deep Tech
Deep Tech has the potential to solve some of society’s biggest problems… climate change, food and water insecurity, antimicrobial resistance, and the need for continual medical advances. These are just some of the ones we know about. Solutions derived from Deep Tech today could meet a myriad of needs in the future. This piece, written to coincide with the launch of Imperial's Institute of Deep Tech Entrepreneurship in September 2022, explores how Deep Tech differs from traditional innovation, and how we can maximise the opportunities it provides.
Algorithmic transparency in the public sector
Public sector organisations in the UK and abroad have increasingly made use of algorithms to assist in decision making. However, concerns exist that the use of algorithms to make complex, high-impact decisions – such as eligibility for benefit payments or social housing – may lead to unfair outcomes and reinforce existing biases. Imperial Policy Forum and the think tank Reform organised a policy hackathon on ‘Algorithmic transparency in the public sector’, and this report brings together the ideas generated at the event to help solve some of the difficult policy challenges.
AI for healthcare
Artificial intelligence (AI) offers a real opportunity in healthcare, not only to automate some of the problem-solving carried out by doctors and other medical professionals, but also to make quicker and better decisions and apply problem-solving techniques that humans alone could not.
Credit: Imperial's Enterprise Division
Pandemics and privacy
Contact tracing is a central plank of infectious disease epidemiology. However, contact tracing apps will need to take and keep some data from their users. This has significant privacy implications, especially as some users will necessarily be ill and at risk. This piece will discuss ways of minimising those privacy implications.
transformative tech articles
Social media and online harms
How can we protect young and vulnerable people in an increasingly online world? This long-read article addresses questions of digital technology, design psychology and the psychiatric impacts of social media for children and young people. Elements of this work sit under both the ‘Transformative technologies’ and ‘Health’ themes of IPF’s work.
This long-read article introduces the ‘Imperial-X’ initiative, a major cross-College project bringing together expertise in emerging and disruptive technologies like AI, machine learning, advanced robotics and augmented/virtual reality. Hear from Imperial-X Co-Director Professor Eric Yeatman on Imperial-X’s mission, including technology ‘moonshots’ and supporting innovative startups. The research and innovation agenda of I-X relates to the ‘Transformative technologies’ theme of IPF’s work programme.