The Government’s Industrial Strategy was issued on Monday, highlighting five key areas where the UK needs to improve its performance: Ideas, people, infrastructure, business environment and places.

The life sciences sector was positioned as one of the UK’s fastest developing industries, with a turnover in excess of £64bn, and employing 233,000 across the UK. The Government’s vision is to create the world’s most innovative economy, good jobs and greater earning power for all, a major upgrade to the UK’s infrastructure, the best place to start and grow a business and prosperous communities across the UK.

Some of the points relevant to Life Sciences include:

  • To raise total research and development (R&D) investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027  and increase the rate of R&D tax credit to 12 per cent
  • Long-term strategic deals in four sectors seen as having growth potential: construction, life sciences, automotive, and artificial intelligence. New investment by MSD in a UK Discovery Centre in London could support up to 950 jobs, and diagnostics company QIAGEN will expand its Manchester presence, which could see the creation of 800 skilled jobs.
  • Boost digital infrastructure with over £1bn of public investment, including £176m for 5G and £200m for local areas to encourage roll out of full-fibre networks
  • A new Transforming Cities fund that will provide £1.7bn for intracity transport; funding projects that drive productivity by improving connections within city regions
  • Investment of £725m in a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programmes to capture the value of innovation.
  • An Artificial Intelligence Sector Deal will place the UK as a global leader in developing AI technologies. The Sector Deal references companies such as Deepmind and Babylon and estimates that AI can add £232 billion to the UK economy by 2030.
  • Drive over £20bn of investment in innovative and high potential businesses, including through establishing a new £2.5bn Investment Fund, incubated in the British Business Bank.
  • Invest in high quality infrastructure between and within cities, including a commitment to the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Corridor, with news homes, infrastructure and identify new and growing sectors.
  • To effectively meet the needs of an ageing population by harnessing and supporting innovations in medical care, technology and services.
  • Build on existing strengths, such as biotechnologies, genetics and cell therapies, whilst developing new strengths in emerging sectors. We must do this as a partnership between businesses, scientists, investors, educators and policy makers to take full advantage of the transformational potential of these trends to improve people’s lives, their work and the nation’s productivity.
  • In response to the life sciences review, the government will develop a number of regional Digital Innovation Hubs to support the use of NHS data for research purposes within the strict parameters set by the National Data Guardian.
  • To replicate the formal science and technology agreement with the United States, signed in September, with a UK contribution worth £65m to collaborate on projects exploring some of the most important questions in science and advance our understanding of the origin and structure of the universe; and replicating this model
    with other countries.
  • Invest an additional £406m in maths, digital and technical education, helping to address the shortage of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills.

The success of the UK life sciences sector is based on the strength and depth of the science base, coupled with the strong innovative and entrepreneurial capability that resides within academia, the NHS and the industrial base, in particular our SME community. This boost in funding and support for the life sciences sector will help to strengthen the sector and promote innovation and commercialisation.

You can read the full paper here