PM sets out plan to make Britain a ‘science superpower’

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

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. 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,” Sir Patrick said in a statement.

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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 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.”

Patrick Vallance (Wikipedia)

The development comes even as Britain reported another 9,284 coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,630,040, according to official figures released on Sunday.

The country also recorded another six coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 127,976. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

British scientists on Sunday warned of “pretty miserable winter” ahead for the country due to likely emergence of new respiratory viruses, with further lockdowns a possibility.

Calum Semple, member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), a British government advisory body, said that children and elderly people will be especially vulnerable to endemic viruses at the end of the year.

Scientists have warned that a third wave of coronavirus infections is “definitely under way” in England due to the fast spread of the Delta variant first identified in India, even though hospital admissions will hopefully not be on the same scale as in January.

The recent data published by Public Health England showed the AstraZeneca vaccine is 92 per cent effective against hospitalisation from the Delta variant after two doses, and the Pfizer vaccine, 96 per cent effective.

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