Today [1 July 2020] the UK Government publishes its Research and Development Roadmap. The Academy's President, Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, responds:
“This R&D Roadmap provides welcome recognition of the critical role of research and innovation in the UK’s future and our global recovery from COVID-19.
“The UK’s track record of innovation has never been more important. It’s UK research that identified the first drug to improve survival for COVID-19: a cheap and widely available steroid. Now, our ability to develop new treatments, test vaccines and understand the wider impacts of the pandemic will all rely on research.
“What’s more, investing in medical research will improve society beyond COVID-19 by addressing health inequalities, helping patients, and creating highly skilled jobs across the country. Every pound invested today in medical research pays back 25p to the UK economy every year, forever.
“I’m pleased to see recognition that our future success depends on supporting the people behind the science. The establishment of the Office for Talent and extension of post-PHD visa sends a welcome signal that the UK is open to researchers from around the world. Alongside attracting researchers from overseas, we must also make sure that research is an accessible and welcoming career to home-grown talent from all sectors of our society.
“Realising the ambitions set out in this document will require partnership. That means collaboration across Government, but also with the NHS, medical research charities, the private sector and with local structures such as the life sciences clusters. These partnerships will be essential to turn our research activity into health and wealth for the whole country. Beyond our own borders, it will also mean close collaboration with our partners in Europe and across the globe.”
“Today’s announcement is a huge boost to the UK’s economy and R&D capacity but more importantly has enormous potential to help patients across the UK and beyond.”