Medical Research - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:50 pm on 28th March 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Masham of Ilton Baroness Masham of Ilton Crossbench 7:50 pm, 28th March 2017

My Lords, there needs to be safe regulation of medical trials. The Government must ensure that they have appropriate scientific advice during the Brexit negotiations. Have they decided to have a chief scientific adviser in the Department for International Trade?

Nervousness about immigration and nationality persists in the scientific community. The delay in solid reassurances and mixed messages from senior Ministers is having a corrosive effect on the UK research base. At this difficult time and with growing anxiety about global antimicrobial resistance—an alarming threat—the UK must not lose its place as a leader in medical research. The UK-based leading scientific journal Nature notes that European research generates more highly cited research publications than the USA. The European Research Council is a major supporter of scientific research in the UK and the UK needs to safeguard its lead in the growth areas of science and technology through a bilateral science collaboration treaty with Brussels, similar to those currently operated by non-EU countries.

The recent reduction in federal funding for US scientific research will further reduce external sources of collaborative research funding for UK research centres. To maintain Britain’s leading role in translational outcome-driven research, HMG must act swiftly and strategically to create and underwrite a new collaborative research environment. How will the Government ensure that the best research talents—those with enthusiasm, intelligence, interest and drive—and the most innovative organisations stay in the UK after we leave the European Union? We will be competing globally so we must encourage the people we need to come here. They should feel welcome and barriers should not be put in their way. Without research, there cannot be progress.