Government announces Science and Technology Council
The Government has announced the establishing of a new ministerial council and Office for Science and Technology Strategy. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be the chair of the new National Science and Technology Council which will provide strategic direction on the use of scientific and technological tools in tackling great societal challenges in future. Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has been asked to lead the Office for Science and Technology Strategy, in conjunction with his current positions.
The Office will be based in the Cabinet Office and 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. Bold visions will be set going forward, inspired by success in British science and technological development, such as that seen in the development of UK-created COVID-19 vaccines and the well-orchestrated NHS vaccination roll-out. In terms of first priorities, the Office will be addressing how to review the technology bets the UK should get behind and prioritise for strategic advantage.
The move to create these posts and dedicated teams forms part of the Government’s ambitious goals regarding research and development. It is investing £14.9 billion in R&D in 2021-22, meaning that Government R&D spending is now at its highest level in real terms for four decades. It forms part of a plan by No 10 to “reinforce the position of the UK as a science superpower”.
“The new Office for Science and Technology Strategy will put science and technology right at the heart of policy-making and strengthen the way we work across government to reinforce the position of the UK as a science superpower”, said Sir Patrick Vallance.