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Policy and Public Affairs Update: 15th - 19th May


BSI weekly Policy and Public Affairs update

May 15th – May 19th   


General Election manifestos published

Each political party has published their manifesto for the upcoming June election. The key commitments as they relate to science are summarised below:


  • Raise Gross Expenditure (public and private investment) on R&D to OECD average of 2.4% of GDP within 10 years – long term goal of 3%.
  • Increase number of scientists working in the UK and enable researchers from around the world to work in the UK.
  • Increase the size of university investment funds and their aggregation.
  • Continue to support research into diagnosis and treatment of rare cancers and ‘other diseases’ through, for example, the 100,000 Genome project and strengthen research links between the NHS, industry, and academia
  • Significantly increase funding of UK-led medical and technical research into threats to global health and prosperity.
  • Leave the European Single Market and guarantee end of the free movement of people.
  • Secure entitlements of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU.
  • Contribute funds to European programmes where necessary and collaborate in science and innovation.


  • Create an innovation nation with the highest proportion of high-skilled jobs of the OECD countries. Meet the OECD target of 3% GDP spent on R&D.
  • Invest in new public health driven R&D to find effective and affordable treatments for diseases in the developing world, such as TB, malaria and HIV/AIDS and neglected tropical diseases.
  • Guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK and work to secure reciprocal rights for UK citizens elsewhere in the EU.
  • Retain access to Horizon 2020 and its successor programmes.
  • Seek to maintain membership of European organisations, like the European Medicines Agency (EMA). 

Lib Dems

  • Retain access to EU framework programmes, like Horizon2020.
  • Protect the science budget by continuing to raise it at least with inflation.
  • Protect Erasmus and other EU funding schemes for young people.
  • Maintain free movement of people.
  • Promise a second referendum on the final Brexit deal.


Medical research funders and non-governmental organisations agree on new standards for clinical trials

Some of the world’s largest medical research funders, including the Wellcome Trust, have together with a number of international non-governmental organisations agreed on new standards that will require all clinical trials they fund or support to be registered and the results disclosed publicly.

These organisations agreed to develop and implement policies within the next 12 months that require all trials they fund, co-fund, sponsor or support to be registered in a publicly-available registry. They also agreed that all results would be disclosed within specified timeframes on the registry and/or by publication in a scientific journal.

Most of these trials and their results will be accessible via WHO’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, a unique global database of clinical trials that compiles data from 17 registries around the world, including the United States of America’s, the European Union’s Clinical Trials Register, the Chinese and Indian Clinical Trial Registries and many others.


General Election 2017 key ‘tells’ and ‘asks’

With the General Election fast approaching, we have published a list of discussion points that can be raised with local candidates to find out their views and highlight the importance of immunology and science to the UK’s future. The full briefing document is available here, but the key points are as follows:

1. Immunology is vital to understanding human and animal health and developing new medicines.

2. We need the next government to develop a long-term road map that brings funding for science and research more in line with international competitors.

3. We need our MPs to embed evidence at the heart of policymaking.

4. We need a secure new relationship with the EU with stable access to funding and collaboration through Horizon 2020 and its successor programme.

5. We need an immigration system that secures access to the best talent irregardless of nationality.

Please share this briefing widely with colleagues!