I’m delighted that the BIA now has a new expert advisory committee, the Science and Innovation Advisory Committee (SIAC), set up to identify and build on evolving science trends in the biotech industry that can give the UK competitive advantage. It was the highlight of our Committee Summit last Friday where all eight of our Advisory Committees met, with over 150 BIA members attending.

Dr Mark Carver is the new SIAC Chair and told us the strong UK science base is going to be the catalyst for sector success. SIAC brings together specialists from across the BIA’s membership to help build on this competitive advantage by addressing issues that are key to sector growth, contact us if you want to know more.

There were further changes to the BIA’s committee’s announced at the Summit. The Synthetic Biology Advisory Committee has been renamed the Engineering Biology Advisory Committee, reflecting the breadth of this exciting area of biotechnology, as increasing numbers of engineers, physicists, computational scientists and the like are joining the field. And our Communications Advisory Committee will be changing and becoming a more informally structured meeting, keeping the elements that members value and will relaunch as the Communications Forum on Thursday 2 March.

The changes to the BIA Advisory Committees reflect the changing needs of our members, who are key to ensuring that these vibrant expert communities can continue to flourish and drive forward sector wide success in 2017.  For further information on the Committee changes, read the press release here or visit our website. We’ll have a blog from the Summit available later this week.

Last Thursday, as part of a £229 million industrial strategy investment in science, research and innovation, Business Secretary Greg Clark announced £103 million for a new national centre of excellence for life and physical sciences, at the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Harwell. The centre will build on the UK’s world-leading reputation in these fields and effectively bring together academia and industry. Facilitating collaboration between industry and our world-class academic science base is an important driver for innovation. This £103 million investment is testament to the prominent role of life sciences within the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Investments such as this new centre of excellence will play an important role in the UK becoming the third global biotech cluster.

Also on industrial strategy, on Wednesday I took part in the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Industrial Strategy evidence session. I welcomed the Government’s green paper and especially the focus on life sciences through a “sector deal” but highlighted regulation and immigration as two key issues for our sector not addressed in the strategy.  We were the only industry voice among the six organisations giving evidence, which demonstrates the success of the BIA team in raising the prominence of our sector within Parliament. You can watch the session in full here.

Following last week’s announcement, you’ll have noticed across the trade press that EuropaBio’s Nathalie Moll will be taking up the position of Director General at EFPIA from April. Many congratulations to Nathalie, who we’ve worked very closely with during her time at EuropaBio. I wish her all the best and look forward to working with her in her new role at EFPIA.

A reminder that the latest update from the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership is available to download here. We’ve also recently updated our webpage on the partnership so do take a look for the latest information, or join the LinkedIn group here.