UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged to appoint a Minister for Life Sciences to co-ordinate research and commercial activity in the sector. The move follows what has been seen as a successful start by the Office of Life Sciences (OLS), established by the government in January last year; progressive OLS initiatives have included the Innovation Pass, the UK Innovation Investment Fund and the Strategic Health Authority Innovation Board. It is thought that the new minister will be a scientist rather than a 'politician'.
In a joint statement, the UK's four life sciences trade associations — the Association for the British Healthcare Industry, the Association for the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the BioIndustry Association and the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association — welcomed the move, commenting: "[This] is further recognition of the vital role our industry plays in the health of the nation and in its economic well-being ... Supporting the UK's science and innovation base must be a priority for any future government. The UK must send a clear message to the rest of the world that it is — and is determined to remain — a world leader in the field of life sciences."