EU-ATDay2_BIA_Website_Banner_720x215This week’s update comes from Frankfurt as I attend BIO-Europe and will be chairing a panel on Early Access this afternoon. Look out for any news on the conference in next week’s post.

It’s a busy week with BioInfect also taking place tomorrow at Alderley Park, where I’ll be providing the closing remarks. As we gather to discuss the challenge of anti-microbial resistance (AMR), it was great to hear about the launch of DRIVE-AB (Driving Reinvestment in R&D and Responsible Antibiotic Use) last week, a new scheme funded by the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative which will bring together partners across 11 European countries in a bid to tackle AMR.

You’ll note that we have a slight change to the Newscast format from today. Having reviewed what you seem to value most on a weekly basis we have decided to replace the weekly policy and regulation update with a quarterly review document. This will of course be supplemented with more regular updates and I’ll flag the key policy and regulatory news in my weekly update. The update for May-October 2014, Influencing and Shaping our sector can be found here. It includes an overview of all the key activities from the last few months including the Number 10 event on the Early Access to Medicine Scheme, the Horizon 2020 Parliamentary event with Rt Hon Michael Moore MP plus all the news from Party Conference season and the launch of our manifesto at the UK Bioscience Forum.

Following our response to Labour’s Agenda 2030 Plan for Science this summer we were delighted to attend a breakfast meeting last week with Shadow Minister Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP and Shadow Health spokesperson Lord Hunt on the development of Labour policy for science and innovation. It was great to hear the importance placed in their thinking on driving innovation in the NHS and the importance of incentivising R&D investment.

Further to my update last week we submitted a short response to the Smith Commission outlining the importance of ensuring both corporation tax and the science and research budget remain reserved, not devolved issues. Also last week, the BIA in conjunction with EuropaBio submitted members’ comments on the draft functional specifications for the EU portal and EU database underpinning the new Clinical Trials Regulation (EU) No 536/2014.

You might have seen our previous blog post from GSK’s Malcolm Skingle about the Science Industry Partnership (SIP), an employer-led scheme with £32.6 million of government financial backing to deliver the right kinds of skills training in the science sector. The SIP supports skills training at a range of levels including traineeships and apprenticeships, industry-linked degrees, modular masters in formulation science and – what might be most useful – enables SMEs to reclaim up to 50% of the cost of flexible workforce development courses. For more information take a look at the SIP website, or there’s also a meeting for employers in the South East and South West regions coming up on 27 November, 8-10am in London, which will cover how to access SIP funding and what local networks will look like. If you’d be interested to attend this or another SIP meeting please contact Kate Hutchins at Cogent.

Last Tuesday I attended a summit focused on how the UK and US can learn from one another’s strengths in synthetic biology to support investment and innovation in synbio on both sides of the pond. This time next week, with support from UKTI, delegates from 14 UK companies will be jetting off to San Francisco for a trade mission visiting six inspirational organisations and attending the SynBioBeta conference (with keynote speaker Craig Venter). For any last minute SynBioBeta registrations there is a 20% discount code (register here and enter GDF1898), but for those who can’t make it, Zoe Freeman and members of the BIA’s SynBio Advisory Committee will be tweeting from the mission – follow @BIA_UK or the hashtags #UKSynBio and #SBBSF14.