Microbiology Society informs House of Lords report of Life Sciences Industrial Strategy

26 April 2018

Today the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published a report calling for the Government to clarify the oversight and implementation of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy. The report quoted evidence provided by the Society highlighting the importance of cross-discipline collaboration in maintaining global scientific excellence and promoting innovation.

The Science and Technology Committee has been scrutinising the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, first published in August 2017, and its implementation by Government and the life science sector as part of the wider UK Industrial Strategy, which has a strong focus on research and innovation.

Professor Paul Kellam, Professor of Virus Genomics at Imperial College London, informed the Inquiry in his capacity as a Council Member of the Microbiology Society and Chair-Elect of Policy Committee.

During an evidence session with the Science and Technology Committee in January, Prof Kellam emphasised the importance of encompassing all life sciences in the Industrial Strategy, not just human health, but also agri-food and industrial biotechnology, and actively promoted links between life science sectors and disciplines. Prof Kellam highlighted the breadth of fundamental and applied microbiology, and challenges such as antimicrobial resistance as illustrating the value of a more joined-up approach. Prof Kellam also stated potential challenges for microbiology arising from Brexit and the important role UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) could play in promoting interdisciplinary research and innovation.

Responding to the publication of the report Prof Kellam said “I welcome the Committee’s recommendation that UK Research and Innovation include in its published strategy a commitment to maintaining the UK’s position as a world leader in the life sciences sector”.

Prof Kellam’s evidence to the Inquiry was informed by issues and views raised by the wider membership, including from the Society’s response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s Brexit Science and Innovation Inquiry, and the Society’s Unlocking the Microbiome policy report.

The full report can be accessed on the Science and Technology Committee’s webpage.