UK launches plan to capitalise on science and technology breakthroughs


FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson watches Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance speak during a press conference where he is expected to announce new restrictions to help combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain October 31, 2020. Alberto Pezzali/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would lead a new drive to capitalise on scientific and technological breakthroughs made in Britain with a programme to direct research into areas that will benefit the public good.

Johnson will chair a group set up to "provide strategic direction on the use of science and technology as the tools to tackle great societal challenges, level up across the country and boost prosperity around the world", his office said.

Seeking strategic gains for post-Brexit Britain, the plan looks to build on the success of the country's coronavirus vaccine programme and identify other areas where the research and development sector can benefit from government funding.

“From discovery to delivery, our vaccination programme has proven what the UK can achieve at scale and at speed," Johnson said in a statement.

“With the right direction, pace and backing, we can breathe life into many more scientific and technological breakthroughs that transform the lives of people across the UK and the world."

The government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Patrick Vallance, will head a new public body whose role will be to implement the strategy.

Beyond COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, Britain wants to use its research capability to secure some of the economic benefits of a shift toward greener technology, although competition from other nations is intense.

The majority of research and development spending in Britain is funded by the private sector, and overall investment in 2018 was 1.731% of GDP according to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development data - below the 2.419% OECD average.

Since leaving the European Union, the government has announced plans to increase its spending on R&D.

It plans to invest 14.9 billion pounds ($20.58 billion) in 2021/22, rising to 22 billion by 2024/25, and has committed to raise total R&D investment to 2.4% of economic output by 2027.

($1 = 0.7242 pounds)

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

Army patrols Sydney streets as Brisbane extends COVID-19 lockdown
New Zealand human rights commission launches inquiry into housing crisis
Fifteen soldiers killed in Niger ambush, ministry says
Bolsonaro backers push for change to Brazil's voting system
Tunisia's powerful parliament speaker Ghannouchi leaves hospital
Colombia ex-army chief will be charged over extrajudicial killings
Italy reports 5 coronavirus deaths on Sunday, 5,321 new cases
Three dead in ambush on Shi'ite mourners south of Beirut -Hezbollah source
UK finance minister presses for travel rules easing - report
Russian cosmonauts give video tour of module that jolted space station

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers