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Last Updated: Friday, 15 July, 2005, 01:09 GMT 02:09 UK
UK 'could become hi-tech titan'
Close-up of circuit board, Eyewire
The UK has a solid hi-tech base to build on says the report
The UK could become one of the world's hi-tech titans, a report has said.

Compiled by analysts Deloitte, it says the UK could be a world-beater in technology if it harnessed strengths in basic science, research and finance.

But the chance to create a hi-tech haven would disappear without better co-operation between technologists, academics, financiers and government.

The report urged swift action because overseas competition was threatening to eclipse the UK's advantages.

Winning hand

The Deloitte report said the UK was at a key point in its potential development as a hi-tech nation. Currently Britain has a strong science base, a thriving community of innovators, a strong economy and financial market.

What the UK needs to do is work out how to use this good start to make the country a global technology leader, said the report, which drew on the opinions of more than 50 of the UK's top technology opinion-formers.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, AP
Report decries lack of UK equivalent to Microsoft
William Touche, a technology partner at Deloitte and one of the report's authors, said the UK was already a strong competitor in stem cell research, biotechnology, micro-electronics, semi-conductor design, software and opto-electronics.

To build on this and create a British equivalent of tech giants such as Microsoft, co-operation and communication between all those involved in the UK's hi-tech sector - government, researchers, businesses and financiers - was key.

Better communication would also help Britain's hi-tech firms promote themselves, said the report.

"UK technology companies should not be shy about identifying, exploiting and even advertising the shortcomings of other countries, particularly if these proffer the UK competitive advantage," the report said.

Other factors that could help include ensuring that teachers know how what they teach applies to the commercial world.

Government also needed to ensure there were adequate funds for research, that cash was targeted appropriately and that enough was being done to encourage regional hotspots such as the hi-tech cluster around Cambridge.

The report also had lessons for financiers. It urged venture capital firms to get over the distrust of technology firms they harbour following the dotcom crash.

The time available to turn the UK into a hi-tech haven was running out, said Mr Touche, as China and India grow and their workforces become more educated.

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