Governmental boost for Britain’s life sciences campuses
London – A £100m (EUR113.4m) investment in research infrastructure and measures to streamline clinical trials were highlights for scientists in the United Kingdom’s 2011–12 budget, which was announced on March 23rd. The boost – which includes £70m (EUR79.4m) to help companies at existing life science campuses in Cambridge and Norwich – only slightly softened the blow of deep cuts to science facilities announced last year. The government also announced plans to create a single regulatory agency to cut red tape around clinical-trials research, responding to January recommendations by an Academy of Medical Sciences report.
Nine novel tech transfer centres
In his budget speech for 2011, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne underlined the government’s ambition to make Britain a world leader in the life sciences. The planned investment of £100m aims to provide facilities for the commercialisation of research and the accomodation for innovative SMEs. The funding will go to existing UK science campuses. The government also announced that nine university-based centres for innovative manufacturing in areas such as biological pharmaceuticals and intelligent automation would be established by 2012, and is planning a competition to form a centre for technology and innovation in cell therapy. Britain’s National Institute for Health, which funds NHS research, will run another competition to award £775m (EUR879.2m) to establish translational research centres in biomedicine. Funding for clinical trials in the NHS will, in future, be conditional on the first patients being recruited within 70 days of the funding agreement.