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The UK is in the midst of a wide-ranging national industrial strategy which will influence the country’s future role in the global economy. The latest proposals look at the life sciences and healthcare sectors, perhaps the areas of this grand plan which will affect most people, including through the successful development – or otherwise – of the National Health Service.

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Sir John Bell was asked to work on how the UK might exploit its existing strengths in life sciences. His report issues the strong recommendation that research and development (R&D) spending should rise from 1.6% of GDP to 2.6% over the next five years – putting the UK in the top quartile worldwide.

He also wants the UK to create two or three entirely new industries in the next decade, while increasing by 50% the number of clinical trials, and attracting capital investment for large and small manufacturing facilities. The plan is for the UK to end up with four life sciences and pharmaceutical firms with a market value of over £20 billion, attracting a host of world-class scientists into the country.

Quite how this can be achieved in a post-Brexit landscape is perhaps a matter for another day, but these aims will certainly require strong foundations on which to build.

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