For many decades, technology has changed in a way which until only recently would have been unimaginable. Put simply, we live in a time of unparalleled technological advances. Fast forward to 2050, and the way we live will be completely shaped by the inventions and breakthroughs made today.
Spearheading this technological charge is the life sciences sector, utilising the best of British innovation to tackle some of the biggest healthcare challenges of our time – ageing populations, lifestyle diseases, cancer and antimicrobial resistance.
As an international economic department, we are busy forging a vision of the UK as a world-leader in innovation and technology. It’s a role Britain is made for. Across the UK, scientists are pioneering treatments, progressing advanced therapies and genomics using digital technology and artificial intelligence.
With a combination of top universities, research institutions, global life sciences companies and increasing government support, the UK is a fantastic place for the sector to invest, which is why we are now in the top 3 life sciences hubs globally.
Companies that have the potential to change global health dynamics are thriving here. The UK offers a strong base for world-class research and manufacturing, whilst connecting business with bio-science clusters featuring the best science minds, the best universities and the best research institutions.
Yet whilst the sector flourishes, we must do everything possible to ensure the UK remains on top in a fast-changing industry whose success rests on its ability to quickly adapt and change.
The Department for International Trade is forging ahead with our strategy for promoting British trade across the globe. Life science businesses are playing a key part, with exports of more than £30 billion a year along, also attracting significant investment.
Just last month, Trinity College Cambridge and Tsinghua University in Beijing agreed a £200 million joint venture which will include a state-of-the-art biohub for Cambridge Science Park. This extraordinary collaboration will provide labs and offices for early stage companies and inventors working on tomorrow’s game-changing healthcare products and technologies.
UK regions are also attracting investment, from life sciences inward investors working on flu vaccines and the development of new medicines. Just recently several companies have expanded manufacturing sites in both Liverpool and Wales.
I am determined that my department will play its part in supporting this growth. We are doing everything possible to connect investors with the right partners for their needs, make them aware of our generous tax incentives and grants, and help them find the right plants and premises - many adjacent to the UK’s increasingly renowned science parks.
Using our network of global trade experts in over 100 countries, in our offices, embassies and consulates around the world and in the English regions, we will support and match the ambitions of our leading life sciences companies.
We also will continue to support regular trade delegations from China and other fast-growing countries as part of an ongoing roadshow to encourage delegations to visit key UK cities, promoting our life science companies. For example, this week I led a group of over 200 companies to Hong Kong as part of the Great Festival of Innovation, with several life sciences companies showcasing the best of British to a global audience. The event, organised by my department, brought together business leaders of the future, government ministers from China and the UK alongside the latest technologies form both our countries and across Asia.
As we move forward into a world full of technological change, I’m confident that UK life sciences companies will be at the heart of the cutting-edge innovation which will be sought after internationally. It is a sector which will lead the future – I want to make sure the UK stays ahead.