28 November 2017
On 27 November, the UK Government published their Industrial Strategy to set out a long-term plan to boost productivity and the earning power of people throughout the UK. Part of this is a special sector deal for the life sciences to help ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of innovation, bringing pioneering new treatments and medical technologies into the clinic. The strategy also identifies 'meeting the needs of an ageing society' as one of the key 'Grand Challenges' to put the UK at the forefront of industries of the future and to improve people's lives. In response to the launch of this strategy, the British Society for Immunology has issued the following response.
Professor Peter Openshaw, President of the British Society for Immunology, said:
“The life sciences industry is one of the jewels in the crown of the UK economy and immunology sits at the sharp end of this innovative field. The publication of the Industrial Strategy, agreeing a deal for the life sciences sector and laying out plans to support innovation, indicates that the Government recognises the positive impact that supporting research has for the UK as a whole.
“The identification of life sciences as a key sector for support is to be welcomed, as is the commitment to increase the annual spend on research to 2.4%GDP. This strategy focuses on many actions that we have been calling for, including reinforcing funding for basic and translational research, ensuring we can attract talented and skilled researchers from around the world and maximising the research potential of the NHS.
"Many decades of investment in research are now starting to yield breakthroughs in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, infection, autoimmunity and allergy. Now it’s a critical time for the UK to position itself to capitalise on our successes. The needs of an ageing society are also identified in the strategy as one of the ‘Grand Challenges’ and this is certainly an area where immunology can make a big impact, with research efforts ongoing to improve healthy ageing throughout the life span.
“It’s critically important that the UK continues its outward-looking international focus to ensure that Britain maintains its position as a world leader in life sciences.”
You can find out more about the UK Government's Industrial Strategy here.
You can read the British Society for Immunology's report on 'Immunology and the UK's life sciences industry' to find out more about our views on what Government should do to support innovation in this area.
You can read more background information on how immunology is involved in research into ageing on our blog.