KPMG’s global lead for life sciences, comments on the consultation green paper on Theresa May’s Industrial Strategy.
Chris Stirling, KPMG’s global lead for life sciences, comments on the consultation green paper on Theresa May’s Industrial Strategy: “Today’s announcement will be a very welcome for the country’s life sciences industry, as Theresa May highlights the sector as one of her ten pillars for growth in the UK. Building on existing commitments made by the Government last year, the UK’s competitive position in the sector is rightly prioritised for post-Brexit success.
Pipeline of talent
“In the green paper, May identifies that the future of the industry relies on a long-term investment to secure the right workforce of tomorrow. The paper emphasises the importance of our school children, and references a plan to continue to encourage pupils to study STEM subjects. Also a focus is higher education and apprenticeships, with the commitment for more MoD STEM apprenticeships, and more funding for PhDs in these subjects. The gender divide is noted, but the paper does not touch on plans to encourage more girls of school age to study STEM subjects, which I would have liked to have seen included.
“Also highlighted is the need for more investment in R&D to bring the UK up to par with global competitors, and £4.7bn in additional funding will be injected into R&D 2021. I would expect that funding and support will focus on encouraging companies, particularly smaller businesses, to be more innovative and to make better use of technology developments including artificial intelligence and robotics.
“Since the Brexit vote, there remains plenty of uncertainty in the industry. UK participation in EU research and development programmes is at risk, and scientists and other skilled workers from the EU are considering returning to their home countries. The regulatory environment is also likely to be significantly more complex as, currently, the UK relies significantly on the European Medicines Authority (likely to be moving out of London).
“These issues are still very real for the industry, but its businesses will hope that today’s commitment by May will soften the potential blow.”
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