The Power of Ten

12 July 2021 | Sharon Todd, SCI CEO

Sharon ToddCharting a course for the next ten years

Sharon Todd, SCI CEO comment

There has been no shortage of science and innovation making news over the last few days. This is topical; as last week we held our Annual General Meeting (AGM), which brought both of these areas to the fore.

The UK Government’s plan for life sciences, encapsulated in its 10-year Life Science Vision, is a bold statement of intent, and to be welcomed. The Vision, backed by significant investment, builds on the incredible work of the life sciences sector, developing covid-19 vaccines in record time. The plan will use this foundation to make inroads into some of the UK’s, and much of the world’s, biggest healthcare issues, from dementia to cancer.

I certainly believe we have now moved decisively into a time where there is greater interest in the benefits of science and innovation. The fact the Life Science Vision is a ten-year plan provides a great deal of certainty for SCI, its members and the wider scientific community.

SCI’s AGM was the 140th for the Society. We used it to reflect on the challenges that SCI and its members tackled during 2020. Above all, SCI also used the meeting to set its own intention for a 10-year vision. Our vision will also be bold, as we work alongside our corporate partners, academia, innovators and policy makers to help transform innovation into products for the benefit of society.

So, again it was great to see those brilliant innovations becoming a benefit to society with the news that Shell, along with its partners, had started up Europe’s largest Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Electrolyser. A truly international effort, with companies from Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK collaborating to bring green hydrogen to the market. Meanwhile, the US Government is investing heavily in research to advance next-generation clean hydrogen technologies in support of the US Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Energy Earthshot initiative, aimed at reducing the costs and accelerating breakthroughs in the clean hydrogen sector.

Feeding a growing population, with nutritious and sustainably produced food, is among the priorities for many of SCI’s members. So it has also been great to learn about developments at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nation’s Science Days. Not only was ‘science, technology and innovation,’ highlighted as being essential in accelerating the transformation of agri-food systems, but what caught my eye was the pledge given by a group of expert scientists to have ‘respect for indigenous, traditional and citizen-based knowledge,’ in applying the new innovations.

This perfectly sums up what I, and all of SCI’s members and partners believe: science and innovation are for the benefit of mankind.

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