Decisive action will bolster UK’s life sciences sector

16 November 2020 | Muriel Cozier

‘The race for investment and talent is fierce.’

A report from the CBI, an organisation representing the UK’ business sector, has outlined a number of ways in which action to boost life sciences could help  the  UK ‘pull ahead of the competition,’ and deliver  ‘better patient outcomes.’

With the life sciences sector contributing over £70 billion to the UK economy, the report, Let’s Get Clinical: Building a Global Life Sciences Hub, looks at five key drivers to competitiveness, measured against key international players. The drivers include:  Strengthening of the research and innovation framework, access to talent, and Government backing of the sector.

Providing the detail to its recommendations, the report asserts that in the area of the research and innovation framework, the UK ‘Should invest in its clinical trials infrastructure and deliver an ambitious end-to-end research and innovation system.’ The report adds that the Government’s department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) should establish a new body, Accelerate UK, to join up existing initiatives and bring support for innovation adoption under one clear banner.

On access to talent, the report calls for more to be done to plug the STEM skills shortage, and says that a ‘radical reform’ of the apprenticeship levy is needed, supporting businesses so they can invest more in their people.

The report commends the Government’s championing of the life sciences sector and recommends maintaining momentum on the implementation of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy.

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director said; ‘The race for investment and talent is fierce. Other countries are desperate to usurp the UK’s leading position, so it’s time to put clear distance between us and the competition…The covid-19 crisis has been a landmark moment in highlighting the importance of the life sciences sector to the UK’s resilience. It has also shown just how powerful true partnership between the public sector and business can be…’

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