Boris Johnson sets out plan to make UK ‘science superpower’, as Sir Patrick Vallance to run new agency

Plan seeks to ‘reinforce the position of the UK as a science superpower’, No 10 says

Matt Mathers
Monday 21 June 2021 09:15

Sir Patrick Vallance is to run a new science and technology office aimed at maximising the UK’s strengths in both sectors, Downing Street has announced.

The Office for Science and Technology Strategy will be based in the Cabinet Office and tasked with driving Whitehall priorities in those areas.

Sir Patrick is taking up the role of national technology adviser alongside his current position as the government’s chief scientific adviser.

“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,” Sir Patrick said in a statement.

“I look forward to working with the National Science and Technology Council to help identify cutting-edge research and technologies that will deliver strategic advantage for the UK”.

It forms part of a plan by No 10 to “reinforce the position of the UK as a science superpower”.

A new National Science and Technology Council will also be established and chaired by Boris Johnson.

The prime minister will instruct the council to provide strategic direction on the use of science and technology as tools to tackle society’s challenges and level up across the country.

Downing Street says Mr Johnson is tasking the whole of government, working with the new council and office, to take the success of the UK’s approach to vaccines and apply it to other priorities.

Officials say the first task of the Office for Science and Technology Strategy will be to review the technology bets the UK should back and prioritise for strategic advantage.

The PM said: “From discovery to delivery, our vaccination programme has proven what the UK can achieve at scale and at speed.

“With the right direction, pace and backing, we can breathe life into many more scientific and technological breakthroughs that transform the lives of people across the UK and the world.”

He added: “That’s why I’m establishing a new ministerial council and office at the centre of government, so we can realise the limitless possibilities that research and technology has to offer and cement the UK’s place as a global science superpower.”

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