The UK Government have today announced a growth package worth £650 million to boost the UK’s life science sector and drive economic growth.
The package includes policies such as improving commercial clinical trials, investing in scientific innovation, expanding the UK’s biological data bank, and incentivising pension schemes to invest in science and technology companies. The Chancellor also announced plans to relaunch the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) as Health Innovation Networks to boost innovation by bringing together the NHS, local communities, charities, academia and industry to share best practice. It also laid out changes to planning rules to free-up laboratory space and issued an update on the East West Rail (EWR) route to improve connections between Oxford and Cambridge, bringing more investment to the region.
The announcement recognises Life Sciences is one of the UK’s most successful sectors, worth over £94bn to the UK economy in 2021, a 9% increase on the year before.
Announcing the package, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said, “Our Life Sciences sector employs over 280,000 people, makes £94bn for the UK each year and produced the world’s first covid vaccine. These are businesses that are growing our economy while having much wider benefits for our health – and this multi-million pound investment will help them go even further.”
On the news that AHSN’s will be relicensed as Health Innovation Networks, Oxford AHSN CEO and OAHP Board Member Professor Gary Ford said: “It is a testament to the collective impact of the AHSNs over the past ten years that our commissioners have issued a further licence. We welcome the opportunity and challenge this provides for our teams to identify, develop and spread innovations that meet the priorities of the NHS over the next five years.
“Under the new banner of Health Innovation Networks each organisation will continue to support local innovation and transformation working with the integrated care systems (ICSs) within their region, support innovators to develop innovations to address local needs and come together as a national network to evaluate and spread promising solutions at scale.