17 February 2020 | Tiffany Hionas

Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.

What’s been in the news?

New bill improves patient treatment and safety

The Medicines and Medical Devices Bill was introduced on 13th February 2020. It aims to ensure patient safety, regulating medical devices and developing personalised medicine.

The bill will allow more NHS staff to prescribe medicines for patients with low - risk conditions, reducing unnecessary GP appointments.

Hospitals will also be allowed to use patient tissue and DNA samples to tailor treatments to the individual circumstances based on predicted response or risk.

In response to the new bill, Health Minister Baroness Blackwood said: ‘It will slash red tape, support uptake of treatments for people with rare diseases and empower those in the NHS who know what’s best for their patients to deliver the best quality care.’

 Oil Industry

IEA Study shows first quarterly contraction in oil demand for a decade.

The latest report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) backs up indications that Covid-19 (the novel coronavirus) has triggered an economic slowdown, with evidence of a worldwide falloff in demand for oil.

The IEA’s Oil Market Report February 2020 says that this is the first quarterly contraction in global oil demand in more than a decade, ‘We have cut our 2020 growth forecast by 365 000 barrels/day to 825 00 barrels/day, the lowest level since 2011. Lower than expected consumption in the OECD trimmed 2019 growth to 885 000 barrels/day,’ the IEA stated. The organisation added, ‘The coronavirus outbreak has also led us to revise down the outlook for global refinery runs.’

Read more here.


Global economy will be hit by decline in natural assets

Globally, the loss of natural assets will cost at least £368bn annually, which could rise to £8trn by 2050. In the UK, the decline of forestry, coastal protection and water supply will cost the UK £16bn in terms of loss of GDP.

This analysis is based on an economic model which identifies the future global and national economic impacts which will take place due to natural changes. This model considers the different ecosystem services nature provides; the supply of water for agriculture; supply of timber; marine fisheries; pollination of crops; protection from flooding, storm surges and erosion; and carbon storage; all of which support the world’s economies.

Failure to protect the environment will result in major economic consequences. Investing in nature and managing land and natural resources will be critical to stabilising the global economy.

Read more here.

Calls for evidence

Deadline: 24 April 2020

Deadline: 28 February 2020

Deadline: 01 May 2020

Funding competitions

Deadline: 04 March 2020

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £30 million to develop low carbon propulsion capability in the automotive sector.

Deadline: 01 April 2020

Apply for a share of up to £1 million for early stage projects in smart and sustainable plastic packaging.

Deadline: 22 April 2020

Apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations.

Deadline: 01 July 2020

Applicants are invited to spend up to 36 months (full or part time) on secondment in the biomedical sciences sector.

Deadline: 13 May 2020

Apply for funding in innovation projects across 3 streams. 

Deadline: 15 April 2020

Apply for a share of up to £4 million for collaborative R&D projects addressing major cyber security challenges.

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