Open letter to Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology


A week ago, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the creation of a new Government department – Science, Innovation and Technology – to lead the implementation of his strategy to establish the UK as a global “science superpower” and build the future economy on the back of businesses leveraging breakthrough scientific and technological advances. In consultation with clients and contacts across the fast-growth tech and investment ecosystem, FieldHouse developed a set of five priorities for new Secretary of State Michelle Donelan to address in her role leading DSIT, and coordinated the open letter below, sent to Ms Donelan on 15 February 2023.

FieldHouse Associates


The Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP

Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology

Whitehall, SW1.


14th February 2023


Dear Secretary of State,

We represent a cross-section of the UK’s innovation ecosystem, with decades of experience in building, investing in, and supporting high-growth companies. 

The creation of the new Department of Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) – announced a week ago – is a positive step and provides a welcome focus on an area of the economy that will drive future growth. Britain’s scientists and technologists produce ideas that change the world, and they deserve to be supported by a dedicated Government department. We welcome this development. 

However, for DSIT to deliver on this potential, five urgent issues must be addressed as a priority. Ignoring these issues will not only result in irrelevance for the department at a time when it should be playing a key role in our economic recovery, but also represent a failure of the innovators it is supposed to support. Our five priorities are:

  • Universities: The department must examine the commercialisation of technology at our universities – with a focus on how more efficient use can be made of existing funding to support research with the potential to scale into great businesses. We recommend a multi-stakeholder consultation on the spinout process to examine issues around technology transfer, which lacks consistency and often requires entrepreneurs to give up large amounts of equity early in their company’s development. 
  • Pensions: DSIT must involve itself fully in discussions around pension reforms that would allow pension funds to invest in the venture capital industry. Success in this area would increase the funding available to our most promising technology businesses – many of which are forced to look overseas for investment. 
  • Innovation hubs: Discussions on spreading innovation around the UK historically have focused on the “golden triangle” of London, Oxford and Cambridge – world-leading centres of science and technology, but far from alone in a country boasting multiple high-quality research-intensive universities. Many of these institutions anchor fast-growing regional tech hubs that are no harder to access from London than tech cities across the Bay Area are from Silicon Valley’s San Francisco epicentre. We must see more detail on how science, innovation, and technology will be nurtured around the whole of the UK if we are to fulfil the Prime Minister’s promise of becoming the “next Silicon Valley”. 
  • Intellectual property: The department must work to build a robust IP strategy across all territories to protect companies from overseas competition, drive revenue through licensing, and ensure exits are achieved at maximal prices. 
  • Visas: We require clarity on the future of Britain’s global talent visa, often known as the tech visa, following the decision to end funding to Tech Nation. This provided a route to access talent from around the world for innovative companies and must be retained.




Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, Founder, Fast Growth 50

Francesca James, Founder, Great British Entrepreneur Awards

Roderick Beer, Managing Director, UK Business Angels Association

Sarah Barber, CEO, Jenson Funding Partners

Kjartan Rist, Founding Partner, Concentric

Stephen Page, Founder and CEO, SFC Capital

Henry Whorwood, Head of Research & Consultancy, Beauhurst

Cordelia Meacher, Founder and Managing Director, FieldHouse Associates

Chris Lowe, Founder and CEO, NOTWICS 

Michael Mangion, Founder and CEO, Trilvee

Bianca Cefalo, Co-Founder and CEO, Space Dots 

Steve King, Co-Founder and CEO, Black Swan Data

Sabrina Del Prete, Founder and CEO, Kore Labs 

Hugo Amos, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Black Swan Data

Volodymyr Levykin, Founder and CEO, Skyrora 

Ian Merricks, Founder, VenturePath

Seb Wallace, Investment Director, Triple Point 

Ben Clark, Director, Future Worlds 

Jennifer McGuire, Strategic Partnerships Director, Globalization Partners

Jason Teng, Partner, Potter Clarkson

Sara Holland, Partner, Potter Clarkson

Andrew Richardson, Managing Director, Home Grown 

Paul Landau, Founder and CEO, Careology

Paul Excell, Director, Scale-Up Group

Will Orde, Partner, Conviction VC

Charlie Coleman, Investment Associate, Conviction VC