Investing in research skills training will support the next generation of science leaders – FE News


£ 5 billion R&D program to boost healthcare innovation

  • Chancellor to announce new investment in groundbreaking projects to tackle UK’s biggest health threats
  • Government to announce largest cash increase ever for health R&D

A £ 5bn investment that will increase health-related research and development to fund groundbreaking new projects, spur innovation and solidify the UK’s status as a science superpower is expected to be unveiled on Wednesday at the review of budget and expenditure.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce the major boost following the huge success of the UK life science industry which has led the world in the development of breakthrough vaccines and life-saving treatments for Covid-19.

The Department of Health and Social Affairs will receive £ 5bn over the next three years to fund health R&D, with investments reaching £ 2bn per year by 2024 – a 57% increase in species since before the pandemic.

Under this program, Genomics England will receive funding to support new initiatives, such as ‘Generation Genome’, a nationwide pilot project of 100,000 newborns to use genome sequencing to detect rare diseases. The new technology will allow doctors to detect more than 200 conditions compared to existing tests which can only identify nine, which could save 3,000 babies per year.

It will also fund a project to fight health inequalities by increasing the representation of minority groups in genomics research programs. The “Diverse Data” project will aim to recruit at least 15% of people from ethnic minorities to participate in research programs.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

“The past 18 months have shown us how important innovative R&D is to deliver new life-saving treatments and improve the efficiency of our healthcare system.

The UK is already home to some of the best minds in healthcare and life sciences, and I am determined to see this sector flourish as we expand opportunities across the country and recover from the pandemic.

“This additional funding will support them in their mission to tackle major global issues, from disease prevention to climate change, and help solidify the UK’s position as a science superpower.”

A total of £ 95million of funding will go to the Office for Life Sciences to increase the uptake of cutting-edge innovations in the NHS and to carry out the Prime Minister’s health missions on cancer, obesity and mental health.

As announced last week by Health Secretary Sajid Javid, the government has also pledged to continue funding research for advanced coronavirus treatments. This includes £ 33million to deploy new Covid-19 antivirals via a UK-wide trial, which will prioritize the most vulnerable first.

To coincide with COP26, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) will also announce £ 20million for vital research on climate change and health. An additional £ 40million will be prioritized for social care research to create dedicated assessment teams to help reform our social care system.

NIHR will also announce £ 30million to invest in research skills and training, including a focus on reaching under-represented groups to help increase diversity in the UK research and research sector. life sciences, as well as an important set of measures to explore innovative technologies for the diagnosis and detection of dementia.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said:

“The pandemic has highlighted the important work of our scientists and healthcare professionals, from developing life-saving vaccines to identifying better Covid treatments through the RECOVERY trial. “

The government’s commitment to increase investment in health research to £ 5 billion will help us deliver better and more effective care and treatment in the NHS, through innovation funded by organizations such as the National Institute for Health Research, a world leader.

Chief Scientist of DHSC and CEO of NIHR, Professor Lucy Chappell added:

“It is an exciting time to lead NIHR. We have a huge opportunity to shape the way we improve lives through science and research in the UK, building on everything we’ve learned over the past 18 months.

“Supported by government funding, we will be able to support more research on the most pressing health challenges of our time, such as the health impacts of climate change and improved social care. We will continue to work closely with the NHS to incorporate what we learn, ensuring that the benefits of this research are felt across the country. “

Health and Social Affairs Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“Our world-renowned researchers and scientists have been absolutely essential in our fight against Covid-19, developing vaccines and treatments that have saved countless lives in the UK and around the world.

“The new investment will build on this success by accelerating the discovery of breakthrough drugs and technologies to improve the nation’s health and fight inequalities.”

Additional quotes from stakeholders:

Baroness Nicola Blackwood, President of Genomics England, said:

“We are delighted that the government continues to demonstrate its commitment to health research, and I have no doubts that this investment will allow the UK to consolidate its position as a world leader in life sciences. Genomics England’s groundbreaking work with the NHS has already demonstrated the power of genomics to transform healthcare, improving diagnosis and personalization of treatment for cancer and rare diseases.

“It’s very exciting that we can now focus more on speeding up diagnosis and access to treatment for newborns with a treatable genetic disease, and through our work on various data to deliver the benefits.” genomic health care to all communities. “

Chris Wigley, CEO of Genomics England, said:

At Genomics England, our mission is to ensure that everyone benefits from genomic medicine, and we are extremely pleased that this funding is boosting our ability to fulfill this mission.

“The work this will fund will help us end health inequalities and ultimately save and transform thousands of lives, along with innovative new treatments.”

“I am extremely proud to lead the phenomenal team at Genomics England to bring this mission to fruition.”

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Paul N. Strickland