UK Gov publishes Industrial Strategy

Greg Clark the business secretary says the investment by Merck “will ensure Britain continues to be at the forefront of innovation”

UK Gov publishes Industrial Strategy

The government will invest a further £725 million over the next three years in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to be matched by private investment, to support these grand challenges.

It will plough £725m over the next three years into the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund - bringing together research and business - with the aim of "making the United Kingdom the world's most innovative nation by 2030". It was followed on Monday by £725m, much of it targeted on construction and life sciences.

Maddalaine Ansell, University Alliance chief executive, said: "It is particularly welcome that today's White Paper signals a more strategic role for the Office for Students in identifying the future skills needs of the United Kingdom economy".

The investment announced by MSD, known as Merck and North America, will support a new world-leading life sciences discovery research facility in the United Kingdom, supporting a total of 950 jobs in high-skilled and high-value research roles.

But it did reveal that it expects the site to house almost 1,000 employees, "including a state of the art facility for 150 new research scientists as well as 800 existing additional staff for the UK domestic market and other European clinical functions who are now based in MSD UK's Hoddesdon headquarters".

PM Theresa May said the Strategy would provide a blueprint for businesses to deliver a "stronger and fairer economy far years to come".

The "Sector Deals" cover construction, artificial intelligence (AI), automotive and life sciences - to help sectors grow and equip businesses for future opportunities.

"As we leave the European Union and forge a new path for ourselves, we need to focus on building a better future for our country and all the people who live in it".

Last week, Britain's budget forecasters slashed their estimates for the UK's growth over the next five years, citing reduced projections for productivity and Brexit headwinds.

In the Industrial Strategy, clean growth is identified as one of four "grand challenges".

"It is clear that the United Kingdom can, through a collaborative partnership between government, industry, academia, charities and the NHS, deliver the next wave of innovation that will benefit patients, transform the health care system, and generate economic growth and improved productivity".

Ageing society - we will harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society.

"We are renowned for innovation and discovery, with some of the best universities and research institutions in the world producing some of the most inventive people on earth".

Each "Grand Challenge" represents an open invitation to business, academia and civil society to work and engage with the government to innovate, develop new technologies and ensure the United Kingdom seizes these global opportunities.

The pharma company - known as Merck & Co in the U.S. and Canada - also intends to move around 800 workers from its current headquarters in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, and says it is scouting out locations for the new site with the aim of starting operations in 2020.

"Investments by world-renowned companies like MSD and QIAGEN demonstrate that the UK's science base is truly world-leading and an exceptional national strength", said chair of the Life Science Industrial Strategy Advisory Board, Sir John Bell.

It also comes on the same day that the United Kingdom government is due to publish a white paper on industrial strategy in a post-Brexit economy, with the aim of tackling a range of issues such as the country's stagnant productivity, the lop-sidedness of the country's economy in favour of London and the southeast (not addressed in MSD's case) and improve workforce skills.

The Government's industrial strategy has included a pledge to set up a "regenerative circular economy", as the Environmental Services Association (ESA) says it is negotiating a sector deal with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis).

A theme of the 2018 resources and waste strategy will be "to support businesses in maximising the economic benefits from greater resource productivity", said today's document.

The Industrial Strategy is meant to push the United Kingdom towards the forefront of the data-driven revolution.

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