21 Jun 2021
The Prime Minister has made an announcement on a new ministerial council and the Office for Science and Technology Strategy.
Boris Johnson has introduced plans to ensure the UK’s world-leading science and ideas turn into solutions for ‘public good’, as part of ambitions to become ‘a global science superpower’.
A new National Science and Technology Council will be established and chaired by the Prime Minister. This council will provide direction on the use of science and technology as the tools to tackle societal challenges, level up across the country and improve success globally. The Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance is to head up a new Office for Science and Technology Strategy, based in the Cabinet Office, and take up the role of the new National Technology Advisor. This is in addition to his current role as the Chief Scientific Adviser and head of the Government Office for Science.
The Office will support the ministerial council and the National Technology Adviser to drive forward the strategy of Whitehall’s science and technology priorities from the centre. It will aid the government’s insight into cutting-edge research and technologies as well as work across government to put science and technology at the centre of policy and public services. The Office will also identify what is needed to secure and protect the capability in science and technology required in the UK to deliver these ambitions.
The success of the COVID19 vaccination programme in the UK has proven how science can deliver significant benefit to the British people as well as around the world. The Prime Minister is entrusting the government and working with the new council and office, to take the success of the vaccination programme and apply it elsewhere. The ambitions include: developing technology to reach net zero, finding a cure for cancer and keeping citizens safe.
The first task of the Office for Science and Technology Strategy will be to review the technology bets the UK should be involved with, and prioritise for their strategic advantage.
The government is investing £14.9 billion in Research and Development in 2021-22, meaning the government’s spending is now at its highest level for 4 decades.
The government's original press release can be accessed here