UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the government’s new strategy for turning the United Kingdom into a global superpower of science and technology.
Earlier today, the government outlined its novel plans to safeguard the future of the UK’s science and technology sector, announcing new action plans and directives aimed at becoming world leaders in both industries, the first of which is a new National Science and Technology Council that will be chaired by Johnson. The objective of the council is to provide solutions to significant societal changes across the world, enhancing global prosperity.
Additionally, a new Office for Science and Technology Strategy will be formed, which will be led by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, who will take on the new endeavour as of the new National Technology Adviser alongside his current roles. The office will supplement the ministerial council and the National Technology Adviser, producing innovative technologies through pioneering research to put science and technology at the heart of public services and legislation.
At the forefront of vaccine research
The government is optimistic about building upon the vaccine and therapeutics programmes established during the coronavirus pandemic, aiming to deliver groundbreaking solutions to the most devastating health problems around the world. The Prime Minister has proclaimed that his government will use the tactics applied to vaccine into other ventures, such as achieving net-zero, finding a cure for cancer, and keeping UK citizens safe both at home and across the globe. The first order of business for the Office for Science and Technology Strategy will be to evaluate which avenues of technology the UK should prioritise for a strategic advantage.
Boris Johnson said: “From discovery to delivery, our vaccination programme has proven what the UK can achieve at scale and at speed. With the right direction, pace and backing, we can breathe life into many more scientific and technological breakthroughs that transform the lives of people across the UK and the world.
“That’s why I’m establishing a new ministerial council and office at the centre of government, so we can realise the limitless possibilities that research and technology have to offer and cement the UK’s place as a global science superpower.”
Sir Patrick Vallance commented: “The new Office for Science and Technology Strategy will put science and technology right at the heart of policy-making and strengthen the way we work across government to reinforce the position of the UK as a science superpower. I look forward to working with the National Science and Technology Council to help identify cutting-edge research and technologies that will deliver strategic advantage for the UK.”
Investment in research and development is currently at its highest in the UK for over 40 years, with the government currently financing £14.9 bn between 2021-22.