Joanna Shields

Baroness Joanna Shields


Current Initiatives

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BenevolentAI is a UK-based artificial intelligence company. They operate under the mission to change the way medicine is designed, developed, tested, and delivered to the market using computational medicine and AI technology. It is a fully integrated AI company with pharmaceutical discovery and clinical development capabilities.

The company has developed the Benevolent Platform, a machine learning platform for drug discovery. The Benevolent Platform ingests and analyses unstructured and structured biomedical information, combines it with deep learning to create a bioscience knowledge graph coupled with an automated platform for hypothesis generation and validation. Click here to see BenevolentAI Publications.




The WePROTECT Global Alliance to End Child Sexual Exploitation Online is an international movement dedicated to national and global action to end the sexual exploitation of children online.

The Global Alliance have assembled, for the first time, the influence, resources and expertise to transform how this crime is dealt with worldwide, to deliver a vision of more victims safeguarded, more perpetrators apprehended and an end to online child sexual exploitation.

The WePROTECT Global Alliance Board are focused on four key areas to help deliver this vision:

  • securing high-level commitment by governments, the technology industry and international and civil society organisations to tackling this crime;

  • support comprehensive national action, through the WePROTECT Model National Response and the Fund to End Violence Against Children;

  • galvanising global action by catalysing and driving critical interventions needed to end online child sexual exploitation;

  • strategy and governance, including securing a long-term future for this initiative and a clear and stable governance structure

WePROTECT Global Alliance to End Child Sexual Exploitation Online combines two major initiatives: the Global Alliance, led by the U.S. Department of Justice and the EU Commission and WePROTECT, which was convened by the UK. This new, merged initiative has unprecedented reach, with 84 countries already members of WePROTECT or the Global Alliance, along with major international organisations, 20 of the biggest names in the global technology industry, and 17 leading civil society organisations.

Read more about this threat to our children and what we must do in the WePROTECT Global Alliance Strategy.



Child Dignity in the Digital World Alliance

Children and adolescents make up over a quarter of the more than 3.2 billion Internet users worldwide. This generation of over 800 million young users is in danger of becoming victims of sextortion, sexting, cyberbullying and harassment.

This global problem calls for a global solution. We need an open and thorough discussion to build awareness, and to mobilize action for a better protection of minors online.

‘Child Dignity in the Digital World’ is the first world congress of its kind that brings together key stakeholders and international leaders from all relevant areas.

This pioneering congress hosted by the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome sets a milestone in the international fight against digital sexual child abuse.

The invitation-only congress brings together distinguished academic experts, business leaders, leaders of civil society, high-level politicians and religious representatives from across the globe. This provides a historic opportunity to set the global agenda for the fight against online sexual child abuse and for child protection in the digital world.


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Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities

The Interfaith Alliance was inspired by the Declaration of Rome of October 2017. 

Borne from a congress on Child Dignity, and adopted by Pope Francis, this declaration showed how effective inter-faith cooperation could be in combating many of society’s challenges.

With Faith leaders intent on addressing a broader range of challenges impacting the safety and security of their communities, the Interfaith Alliance and its growing network of partners is intent on inspiring constructive, harmonious social progress for the greater good of humanity.    


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Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity


The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity will seek to fill a critical gap by fostering a more transatlantic and collective approach to prevent the next wave of election interference. It will raise awareness of public and governments on what foreign powers, especially Russia, are doing to undermine liberal democracies. The Commission will recommend concrete actions to governments, traditional and new media actors, private sector and non-governmental organizations. Transatlantic and bipartisan in nature, the Commission will seek to share lessons learned between decision-makers and institutions on both sides of the Atlantic.



Council on Foreign Relations

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

Founded in 1921, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. CFR carries out its mission by maintaining a diverse membership, including special programs to promote interest and develop expertise in the next generation of foreign policy leaders and publishing Foreign Affairs, the preeminent journal of international affairs and U.S. foreign policy.


Past Initiatives

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Tech City

We help start-up and scale-up digital tech companies accelerate their growth through a series of programmes, research and events aimed at boosting the number of high-growth businesses in the UK, raising the profile of the sector, and providing a feedback loop from business to government to help shape policy. We also work to eliminate the issues that hold back startups such as skills and access to finance.

Our story began in Shoreditch in 2010, launched by the then Prime Minister David Cameron, to support the East London tech cluster known as London Tech City or Silicon Roundabout. Since then we’ve been on a journey and have spread our activities to cover other parts of the UK including setting up Tech North to run programmes across the North of England.


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Tech Nation


Tech Nation is an interactive data project that demonstrates the growth of digital clusters across the UK. It brings together extensive data via a report and interactive online guide. From East London’s Tech City up to Edinburgh and beyond, digital businesses increasingly choose to work near each other, creating dynamic tech clusters up and down the country.

The UK’s digital economy is thriving. Venture capital investment in London’s tech companies alone is 20 times what it was five years ago. Cities as diverse as Cardiff and Newcastle now boast growing digital tech economies. Now is the right time to shine the spotlight on this exciting network of digital clusters, and map out the prospects for professionals and investors. Tech City has become one of the UK’s greatest success stories. Now it’s time for Tech Nation.


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It’s very un-British to brag, but nowhere beats the UK as an international hub for business.  With our dynamic and highly educated population, specialist tech capabilities and great infrastructure, the UK is a true tech powerhouse.  We have created the best conditions for business builders anywhere in the world.  We are an innovation-driven, knowledge-based economy made of creators, innovators and groundbreakers.  We listen to the needs of the  ecosystem and create policies that help our businesses flourish and lead on the international stage.


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Digital Business Academy

Digital skills are the most acute need of businesses in the UK, with 746,000 additional job openings expected by 2017. To meet this growing need we launched the Digital Business Academy (DBA) on November 17 of this year. The DBA is a free digital platform offering courses for UK residents on how to start or join a digital business. Powered by Tech City UK, this initiative offers unique content from top UK universities such as UCL and Cambridge Judge Business School, on topics as varied as setting up a digital business, creating a marketing strategy, or mastering finance for your business - for free. Thirty industry partners including the BBC, Twitter, O2, and Microsoft Ventures are offering rewards to completers of the course in the form of paid internships, mentorship, and free start-up support and working spaces


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Future Fifty

The UK is now known for its start-ups but it was our high growth scaling businesses that contributed the most to the economic recovery.  High growth companies are the engine for job creation.  In 2012, recognising the huge potential of a growing cohort of companies in the UK, Tech City and the Chancellor of the Exchecquer launched Future Fifty to nurture and support fifty of the fastest growing business in the UK. The Future Fifty programme connects businesses with experts in capital markets, mentors, government programmes and investors.  It provides support on a range of fronts, from obtaining visas for top talent to negotiating with regulators and tax authorities.  Future Fifty accelerates the growth of UK-based businesses by creating a community of support from institutions and markets in the UK.  From Edinburgh to Norwich, as well as London and the South East, Future Fifty companies have generated £2.1 billion in revenue since entering the programme, with an average revenue growth of 60%. In the last 10 months alone, four Future Fifty businesses have gone public - Just Eat,, Zoopla and Horizon Discovery with a total value of £4B.