I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at our annual CEO and Investor Forum on Thursday; I believe we will meet as a community that has made significant strides forward in the last twelve months, especially when it comes to financing and some of the new institutions that were once policy ideas now coming to practical life. I’ll be keen to listen to members’ perspectives and ‘take the temperature’ of you all – more on this next week.
Last week seemed to be the week the politicians got their policy announcements out with regard to our sector before heading for their holidays. The Prime Minister popped up on TV pledging his support on the challenge on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and supporting a new review, hosted and funded by the Wellcome Trust. This major international review will look broadly at the economic issues surrounding AMR, including how to incentivise the drug pipeline so that new drugs are developed, but also focus on our relationship with existing antimicrobials and how they can better be used to treat illness. The review will be led by renowned economist Jim O’Neill, with backing from the Department of Health and HM Treasury. I’ve pledged the BIA’s engagement in this process from the autumn.
On the Labour side a series of important policy documents were published and discussed at an Inclusive Prosperity Conference hosted by the Policy Network at the Science Museum, in which I participated. The good news for our sector is that Labour continues to see life science as a priority, they understand and value the work of the Technology Strategy Board and the Catapults, have some positive ideas on the importance of clusters and support for modern manufacturing and the skills base needed for the 21st century. With Lords Sainsbury, Adonis and Mandelson in prominence it was clear where some of the thinking had developed from. This gives us a positive agenda to engage with the opposition as they develop their thinking ahead of next year’s general election.
Last week was also the deadline for responses on the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills’ important consultation on Long-Term Capital Investment in Science and Research – many thanks to members who helped shape our submission.
On Monday the NC3Rs (National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research) marked their tenth anniversary with a publication describing their approach to collaborating with industry in this important area. The BIA will shortly be meeting with the Chair of the government’s advisory Animals in Science Committee (ASC) and to ensure that the BIA is representing the views of our members, we are establishing a contact group at member organisations with an interest in animal research. This list will be used by BIA for occasional email or phone contact on relevant policy or communications issues. Please drop me a line if you would like to be involved. We would particularly like to ensure the participation of SMEs.
I’d also like to thank Alastair Carrington who leaves us this week after two and half successful years at the BIA to join the sales team at member company Innova Biosciences in Cambridge – we wish him good luck in the new role.