On 7 July 2016, 35 senior representatives from the UK’s life science industry convened for the BIA’s sixteenth annual Parliament Day, a key day of engagement between BIA members and policymakers in Whitehall and Westminster.
Taking place just two weeks after the historic and marginal vote by the British public to leave the European Union – yet before the announcement of Theresa May as the next PM – Parliament Day 2016 was an especially timely opportunity for attendees to catch up, take stock, and hear the BIA’s and policymakers’ takes on next steps forward for the science and business environment post-Referendum.
For policymakers, it was an early opportunity to hear industry views and start to identify red-lines and potential areas of opportunity in this time of flux.
Naturally, the EU and Brexit permeated the discussions, but another important issue that was focused upon on Parliament Day was BIA’s recommendations on the development of innovation finance products; the call to refill the Biomedical Catalyst and key considerations for the shift from Innovate UK grants toward ‘non-grant’ or loan-style products. A short position paper is available online.
The delegation met with over 40 policymakers across over 20 meetings. This great level of engagement between BIA members and policymakers strengthens BIA’s relationship with key contacts in policy and political spheres. Following Theresa May’s instalment as the new UK Prime Minister and the subsequent changes to government staff, it was great to have Nicola Blackwood MP, newly appointed health minister, participating on the day. As well as being able to follow up with these contacts in the following weeks and months as BIA develops its post-Referendum work, we hope that the Parliament Day meetings will provide a stimulus for some parliamentary questions.
Policymaker engagements (positions stated as of 7 July 2016):
- George Freeman MP – Minister for Life Sciences, and Nicole Mather, Director of the Office for Life Sciences
- Baroness Neville-Rolfe – Minister for Intellectual Property
- Lord Hunt of King’s Heath – Opposition Spokesperson for Health
- Ruth McKernan – Chief Executive, Innovate UK
- Sir John Savill – Chief Executive, Medical Research Council
- Nick Seddon – Special Adviser to No.10 (Health and Social Care)
- Rachel Wolf – Special Adviser to No.10 (Technology, innovation, education)
- Ed Jones – Special Adviser to Jeremy Hunt MP (Dept of Health)
- HM Treasury’s Enterprise Investment Team
- Department of Health’s R&D Directorate Team
- Department of Business’s Innovation Finance Products Team
- Department of Business’s Bioeconomy Team
- NICE – Nick Crabb, Programme Director, Scientific Affairs; and Nina Pinwill, Associate Director, Office for Market Access
- Nicola Blackwood MP – Chair of the Science & Technology Committee, and Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Con)
- David Rutley MP – Member for Macclesfield (Con)
- Liz McInnes MP – Member for Heywood and Middleton (Lab)
- Rt Hon John Spellar MP – Member for Warley (Lab)
- Chris Green MP – Member for Bolton West (Con)
- Charles Walker OBE MP – Member for Broxbourne (Con)
- Rt Hon Anne Milton MP – Member for Guildford (Con)
- Jo Churchill MP – Member for Bury St Edmonds (Con)
- Daniel Zeichner MP – Member for Cambridge (Lab)
- Andrew Slaughter MP – Member for Hammersmith (Lab)
- Lord Turnberg
- Lord Willetts
- Lord Selborne
- Lord Haskel
- Baroness Sharp
- Baroness Masham
- Baroness Neville-jones
- Lord Oxburgh
- Lord Traverne