Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome, said:
“Congratulations to Liz Truss on their recent appointment as Prime Minister. There is a long history of scientific research in the UK, with breakthroughs that have driven life changing health advances.
“Tackling the urgent health threats that we face today will depend on continuing to foster scientific innovation and collaboration. Escalating infectious diseases, the grave health impacts of the climate crisis, and the mental health illnesses holding billions of people back. These are challenges which affect us all and demand global action alongside clear strategic priorities and long-term international co-operation and investment.
“During these turbulent times, the UK’s continued leadership on these issues is vital. We look forward to continuing to work with the Prime Minister to ensure science delivers hope for the future.”
Beth Thompson, Associate Director of Policy at Wellcome, said:
“Congratulations to the new prime minister on their recent appointment. We agree that the UK can be a science superpower. The UK is already home to leading scientific research and innovation – that’s been clear for all to see in the pivotal role played in the Covid-19 vaccine and treatment development. Yet, we cannot now be complacent.
“The world faces urgent health threats that reach across borders. We are already facing an increasingly challenging global environment with infectious diseases escalating, the impact of the climate crisis on our health, as well the rising number of people who experience mental health problems every single day.
“We urge the prime minister to seize this moment and invest in science and innovation to help solve these issues. To be successful, they will need to be clear on their priorities and provide the long-term funding required to make these a reality – including following through on commitments to increase investment in the UK’s world-leading research and development sector.
“But also recognise that the UK cannot do it alone. There is a vital need for global collaboration; UK-based scientists and institutions need to collaborate with their counterparts around the world, and the UK needs to be an attractive and exciting place to work. Horizon Europe is a prime example - the new government must secure the closest possible involvement to safeguard research collaboration.
“Securing the UK’s global role in science won’t happen by accident. This work should be overseen by a science minister who can work across government to agree priorities and implement a plan.
“The prime minister must prioritise bold commitments to turn ‘science superpower’ from catchphrase into reality, putting science and innovation at the heart of their agenda. If they do this, they can help everyone live a healthier life.”