UCB calls for greater UK life science collaboration and investment in skills to drive innovation

UCB calls for further collaboration in the life sciences to enhance drug discovery and help drive economic growth. The PhD Networking Day promotes collaboration between leading UK universities and industry while also providing a platform to share best practice and deliver world class skills training for the next generation of science leaders. MedCity, spirit of collaboration, support for UK life sciences and commercial mind-set was praised by UCB

UCB celebrated some of the most promising PhD scientists in the UK at its networking event held at Royal College of Surgeons. At UCB’s annual event the students are able to share knowledge and data more widely as well as gain skills that transition across university and business environments. In addition, the event also featured a talk from MedCity’s Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Haywood, who spoke of the importance of collaboration and the UK’s world-leading reputation in life sciences.

Building on Sarah Haywood’s key note address and commenting on UCB’s approach to collaboration, Eliot Forster, Executive Chair of MedCity, said, “The UK’s reputation as a global centre for creative, innovative science is underpinned by the pipeline of talented students coming through our world-leading universities. These are the people who will be tomorrow’s research and industry leaders, whose skills and knowledge will keep this country punching above its weight in the global economy. It’s great to see UCB working with universities to support their development and facilitate networking and collaboration.”

However, to maintain its life science leadership position the UK faces a number of challenges. Increasingly, strong global competition and the demands of a changing pharmaceutical R&D model have led to a series of disinvestments by pharmaceutical companies based in the UK. In addition, it’s reported that the UK faces a looming skills deficit, with 1.28 million science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals and technicians needed by 2020.

In response to these challenges UCB is calling for the Government to provide greater incentives to universities and the public sector to partner with industry and for others to follow the successful collaboration models used by MedCity and UCB. Additionally, future government policy should support access to a skilled workforce, including the funding and prioritisation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, as well as attracting the best scientific minds from across the world to the UK, all of which can help drive economic growth and ensure the UK retains its life science heritage.

Commenting on the need for greater life science collaboration, Dr. Neil Weir, Senior Vice President of Discovery Research at UCB said, I am delighted that UCB can engage with these PhD students and their supervisors, we see them as a key part of our growing super-network. Collaborating with these promising PhD students is an important part of driving fundamental science from target biology through to translational medicine. This is an area of great strength for British science.”

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