Today’s announcement that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is accelerating moves to make the UK a ‘global science superpower’ could not have come at a better time for the country.
A new ministerial National Science and Technology Council and an Office for Science and Technology Strategy will put science and its everyday applications centre stage and increase prosperity in decades to come.
The UK’s successful Covid-19 vaccine programme has shown how science can quickly transform lives – in the UK and beyond. As well as protecting the health of nations, the initiative is enabling societies to move towards normality.
SCI members are among the leaders in tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges – not just in global health but also in delivering net zero. Many of our members were instrumental in the development and delivery of vaccines and PPE but they are also delivering on climate change and sustainable and nutrient dense food production.
Quite rightly, the fact the Prime Minister is chairing the new Council is evidence of the priority now being put on scientific endeavour and the need for sustainable solutions – ambitions which closely align with those of SCI.
Established as a charity in 1881, SCI is a hub connecting scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs, helping to galvanise the commercialisation of chemistry and related sciences into industry. As a place where ‘science meets business,’ our members are using their talents to tackle some of the globe’s most salient issues. Our corporate partners include Astra Zeneca, GSK and Unilever.
SCI’s founders would be pleased that government R&D spending is at its highest level in real terms for four decades and that today’s announcement signals that the UK is serious about becoming a ‘Science Superpower.’ This has been long overdue.
But to achieve this, we must ensure that a vital pipeline of future, engaged scientists and researchers is ready to further this scientific revolution.