£10 million boost to improve patient care with new technologies

A new £10 million scheme will give leading researchers and businesses the chance to work together to help those facing life-threatening conditions

Close up of virus and cell.
Close up of virus and cell

• Government backs researchers with £10 million to develop innovations that will transform patients’ lives and significantly boost UK life sciences sector
• investment to support and speed up new treatments and cures for life-threatening diseases, from cancer to strokes
• funding comes as new visa route for overseas scientists and researchers becomes law

A new £10 million scheme will give leading researchers and businesses, based in the UK, the chance to work together to develop treatments and cures for those facing life-threatening conditions like cancer and dementia.

The UK is home to one of the strongest, most productive health and life sciences industries globally. The sector is worth £75 billion a year and employs 250,000 people across the UK.

Launched Today (20 February) by the Life Sciences Minister Nadhim Zahawi, the new Innovation Scholars Scheme, will support secondments for academics to develop new technologies and techniques to help NHS patients as soon as possible.

The scheme offers investment to support collaboration in life sciences between researchers and industry.

It will include developing new healthcare wearable technologies such as smartwatches and monitors, diagnostic devices like mobile health units, and new personalised medicines based on patients’ genetic information.

Today, the government also announced 6 new locations that have been awarded the prestigious designation of Life Science Opportunity Zone (LSOZ). These zones will be able to attract investment from national and international businesses linking research expertise with business skills.

Life Sciences Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

"The UK is home to one of the strongest, most vibrant health and life science industries globally, with discoveries and improvements in health diagnosis transforming people’s lives.

"Collaboration is vital to growing this sector and this new £10 million scheme will support the exchanging of ideas, knowledge and skills between researchers and businesses while encouraging strong collaboration with them, the NHS and the government."

This comes as the Home Secretary hosts a reception at No. 10 for the science community today alongside the Immigration and Sciences Ministers, marking the opening of the new Global Talent route which will incorporate a brand new fast-track scheme for top scientists and researchers. Those in attendance include leading universities, students and the British Mathematical Olympiad team, royal societies, public sector and independent research organisations, and endorsing bodies.

Through the new immigration route, top scientists, mathematicians and researchers from around the world will be given fast-tracked entry into the UK. Investing in talent and cutting edge research will enable Britain to remain at the forefront of scientific discovery, from life sciences to climate change.

Life Science Opportunity Zones

Today, the government also announced 6 new locations that have been awarded the prestigious status of Life Science Opportunity Zone (LSOZ), helping raise their profile at a national and international level. These zones will be able to attract investment from national and international businesses linking research and business expertise.

These zones highlight the opportunities of the such as vacant lab space, land to build new facilities, or links with higher education. Their special designation will help them attract investment and deliver jobs, drive economic growth and deliver improved health based on the UK’s expertise in life sciences.

The new LSOZs are:

• Stevenage Advanced Therapies Campus, Hertfordshire
• Birmingham Life Sciences Park, West Midlands
• Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxfordshire
• Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridgeshire
• Porton Science Park, Wiltshire
• Discovery Park, Sandwich, Kent

Experts working in the 6 new Life Science Opportunity Zones will have government support to promote their life sciences parks, through government officials working with the zones to attract investment from national and international businesses.

Researchers in the industry have already made huge advances in areas including early diagnosis, genomics, data, digital pathology and radiology, clinical research and manufacturing. These new zones will play a vital role in driving progress, economic growth and jobs and further supporting improving health outcomes.

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