Techno-economic competition between great powers will be a dominant theme over the coming decade and beyond. But very little is known about the development of emerging technologies: the creative process flows mysteriously from complex systems whose deep structure is obscure — but in spite of that, plans are afoot to hit those complex systems with large, blunt tools in the hope that will secure an advantage for the US and its allies. And, while little is known about how or whether that will happen, even less is known about the role that third parties should play in this field.

Policy is being framed and decided right now in the US and China — but where should the UK and other relatively small but important and independent technology leaders fit in? How can the UK position itself to take maximum advantage of the coming fourth industrial revolution and the coming potential bifurcation in the global economic system in emerging technology?

This was an invitation-only round table at which distinguished guests from economics, industry, and policy backgrounds participated in a discussion (under Chatham-House rules).


  • How do we evaluate the innovative capacity of the US and China?
  • How should the UK navigate the new world as it emerges?
  • How can we map the structure of technological supply chains and the role of the UK within those?
  • How does technological innovation spill over within and across countries and sectors?