As the economy starts to recover from the covid-19 pandemic, a new dawn of technological optimism is breaking (to borrow a quote from The Economist). The response to the virus has been phenomenal, with people and organisations working at speed to meet significant shortages and challenges. There have been many notable successes, including:
- Manufacturers pivoting to create life-saving ventilators and PPE
- Healthcare companies and academics working together to fast-track safe and highly effective vaccines
- Tech companies ramping up capacity and introducing new solutions to facilitate remote working
Necessity is, of course, the mother of invention — but the last year has shown what people can do when they put their minds to it. Collaborative working and innovative thinking really can deliver results, and not just in the middle of a pandemic. Many companies today are making technological advances that benefit society and strengthen their businesses. Optimism is in the air.
So what are the technological trends in 2021? In the rest of this article, we’ll look at some of the key areas where significant research and development (R&D) is being carried out. We’ll discuss global trends and also give you examples of the R&D being carried out by our own clients.
This is a major sector that is getting lots of attention because of covid-19 — but it involves much more than just developing vaccines. It includes diagnostic testing, gene sequencing/editing, stem cell therapies, personalised therapies, synthetic biology and biomanufacturing. Examples that we’ve seen include:
- Veterinary practice using stem cell therapy to treat cats and dogs
- Bioscience company developing new antibody tests
- Equine science company developing genetic tests to predict performance in thoroughbred racehorses
Advanced Material Sciences
Modern composite materials can make vast improvements in efficiencies and costs — and help save the planet. Composite technologies are used to create strong lightweight components that are very popular with aerospace and vehicle manufacturing companies. The exceptional strength to weight ratios mean that planes and cars can be lighter, which saves fuel and reduces emissions. Examples of R&D carried out by our clients include:
- Composite company developing high-strength low-weight structural parts for electric vehicles
- Engineering company supplying lightweight components to aerospace industry
- Manufacturer developing bespoke composite products for the rail industry
Climate change is happening — and impetus is steadily building to do something about it. Targets and activities include reducing energy demands (especially from fossil fuel), reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other harmful emissions, and reducing overall consumption and waste. In the same way that companies responded to the pandemic, many are stepping up to the challenges of climate change. Examples from our client base include:
- Sustainable energy company experimenting with different anaerobic digester feedstocks
- Architectural practice that focuses on sustainable design and construction
- Engineering company developing new technology for wind turbines
AI and ML (Machine Learning) — driven by the rise of big data and the need for data analytics and predictive models — are key areas of innovation and R&D. They are also enabling technologies in many of areas outlined above, such as the development of vaccines and genetic tests. We work with a number of clients in this field, with examples including:
- Data analytics company using ML for automated decisions on unsecured business funding
- Recruitment software company using big data to recommend jobs to people
- Data science company analysing huge volumes of stock market trading data to uncover potential broker abuse
The future is bright for many sectors — and governments are keen to support this. If you carry out R&D then you could qualify for R&D Tax Credits — which can generate significant tax benefits.
To find out more, please get in touch to arrange a no-obligation discussion.