Prime Minister's life sciences speech

05 December 2011

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s speech on life sciences, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

"The Prime Minister is right to recognise the UK’s historic strengths and enormous potential in life sciences, thanks in great part to our world-leading research-intensive universities and the NHS. 

“Russell Group universities already play a leading role in the UK’s life sciences sector, generating first-class research, pioneering the rapid translation of biomedical research into clinical use, and building strong collaborations with the NHS and leading global companies. We are committed to strengthening these relationships to deliver better healthcare and support sustainable economic growth.

“The £180 million ‘Catalyst’ fund is a welcome boost to our universities’ efforts to attract outside investment. The Government has acknowledged our concerns about the ‘valley of death’ - that too many embryonic ideas are not developed to a stage where they can benefit the wider public because of problems in accessing funds. It is imperative that the UK’s cutting-edge research is supported as it travels from the bench to the bedside, and from conceptualisation to commercialisation in other fields of research as well. 

“The Prime Minister’s warning against complacency in the face of stiff international competition is timely. China, India and European competitors are snapping at our heels as they increase investment in their best research institutions. It is vital that the UK’s world-class universities can access the resources necessary to remain on top. As the PM says, with the right support, the great discoveries and technologies of the next decade can be British.”

Notes for editors

1. For example, the Global Medical Excellence Cluster (GMEC) brings together the life sciences and medical research capabilities of Cambridge University, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Oxford University and University College London, together with GlaxoSmithKline, GE Healthcare, Pfizer UK, The Maudsley Hospital and The Royal Marsden Hospital.

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