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Policy and Public Affairs Update: 23rd - 27th October

BSI Weekly Policy and Public Affairs Updates

October 23rd - October 27th 

£17 million to boost the UK’s life science sector

The Chancellor, Phillip Hammond MP, has announced £17 million new funding to help boost the UK's Life Science sector. This money is part of the UK's ambitious Industrial Strategy and should help support new drug discovery and translation of treatments to benefit patients. The follows the announcement made by the government to support the sector by increasing R&D by an extra £2 billion a year by the end of this Parliament. 

In a statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said:

"We have a successful and resilient economy which is supporting a record number of people into employment. My focus now, and going into the Budget (November 22), is on boosting productivity so that we can deliver higher-wage jobs and a better standard of living for people across the country.

That is why I am visiting the Francis Crick Institute, where they are using cutting-edge research to generate real-life health improvements. The UK has world-leading expertise in life sciences – an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people – and it is through supporting growth in these cutting-edge industries that we will build a competitive economy that works for everyone."


PHE launches campaign to ‘Keep antibiotics working’

Public Health England (PHE) has this week launched a new campaign, ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’, encouraging patients to use fewer antibiotics. The campaign is one of many that have been rolled out by PHE in an attempt to battle increasing antibiotic resistance.

Coinciding with the campaign launch, PHE also published its ESPAUR report, a national surveillance programme detailing data on antibiotic prescribing and resistance, and hospital antimicrobial stewardship implementation. The report aims to act as a standard for comparing use and resistance in successive years and as a resource for commissioning and implementing antimicrobial stewardship policies across the country.


WHO says substantial decrease in measles deaths

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a substantial decline in number of global deaths caused by measles, but the decline does not mean we are close to elimination.

In 2016, approximately 90 000 people died from measles across the country, an 84% drop from 2000. In the last 17 years, an estimated 5.5 billion doses of measles vaccines have been given to children through routine immunisation programmes, saving an estimated 20.4 million lives. However, The WHO has said that the world is far from eliminating measles, defined as the absence of endemic measles virus transmission in a region, which will only be achieved if every child is given the opportunity and receives the measles vaccine.


Science and Technology Committee Inquiry open for evidence

The House and Commons Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry into the Science budget and the Industrial Strategy.

As you’ll be aware, in January the Government published the Industrial Strategy Green Paper, “Building our Industrial Strategy”, which outlined an ambitious plan to boost the nation’s economy; the Life Science sector was identified as one very prosperous sector with potential to form a ‘sector deal’ – using the Life Sciences through specific objectives to boost the national economy. See the Life Science Industrial Strategy report for recommendations to the Government on forming a sector deal.

The Government also announced an addition £2 billion/ year funding for Science research in last year’s Autumn Statement. Some of this funding will go towards The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), a new initiative set up to support UK businesses and researchers in tackling some of the greatest research challenges. At the heart of this fund is a drive to bring together academia and industry and supporting the whole pipeline from basic discovery research through to commercialisation that can support patients and the NHS. For example, developing novel technologies for the manufacture of medicines to speed up patient access to new drugs and treatments is one of the broad challenges identified by the ISCF.

Follow the link to read more about the inquiry and please send any comments to me by the end of the weekend.


Appointments to the UKRI councils

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has opened applications for its research councils.

UKRI is the new organisation that beginning in April 2018, will bring together the seven research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England. While under a single governing body and CEO, Sir Mark Walport, each of the research councils will be led by an Executive Chair who will be supported by a team of 5 to 12 members.

Council members will have a range of experience in research and innovation and come from several different backgrounds and with various skillsets. Applications close on 13 November 2017 and should be made directly to the research councils.