The Department for Business, Innovations and Skills (BIS) has launched a strategy document that is intended to help the UK build on its existing skills in plastic electronics.
The document, called Plastic Electronics: A UK Strategy for Success – outlines how the industry should deal with a number of perceived challenges. Top of the list is the fact that plastic electronics not only cuts across a range of disciplines, but also a range of interests – from universities to the private sector by way of all stops in between. Layered on this is a potential gap between R&D work and end users. The solution, says the document, is the establishment of a Plastic Electronics Leadership Group to champion the needs of the sector and to raise its profile. In most respects, the PELG will be expected to perform a similar role to the Electronics Leadership Council, bringing together a range of interests to coordinate activities in the sector. Speaking exclusively with New Electronics, Secretary of State Lord Mandelson said: "Our new strategy document identifies five main challenges facing the sector, which the new Plastic Electronics Leadership Group will work to address. But prioritising these challenges is not easy - every organisation active in the sector would recognise the significance of each, but would probably rank them differently depending on their own position in the value chain; the scale and maturity of their business and the markets they focus on. "Many parts of the embryonic supply chain are present in the UK and, together with recent investments, this puts us in a strong position to develop new products and exploit the commercial value of the technology. The vision within our new strategy is for the UK to build on these foundations and be a world leader as the markets develop."