Cementing the UK’s Position as a Scientific Superpower: Insights from ‘Creating a Scientific Superpower’ Conference

03 July 2023

 

Foreman Roberts recently attended the dynamic ‘Creating a Scientific Superpower’ conference, hosted by EG and Bidwells, which explored the growth of the Research, Science & Technology sectors in the UK, focusing on topics such as superclusters, innovation, real estate for science and technology, and a net zero future.

 

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A Pledge of Support

Significant to note was the government’s recent pledge to invest £650M in the life sciences sector and its promises to reform planning rules for scientists’ aid. It’s a clear demonstration of commitment to bolster the science sector, which already contributes an estimated £94bn annually to the UK economy. The government’s dedication underlines the sector’s importance in driving future growth and supports the aspiration to establish the UK as a scientific superpower.

A Vision from the Top

The Rt Hon Chloe Smith MP, secretary of state for science, innovation and technology, laid out a roadmap on how the UK could cement its place as a scientific superpower. Meanwhile, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, drew attention to the critical role innovation plays in achieving a net zero future.

Championing Life Sciences

In the conference’s opening keynote speech, Sir Jonathan Symonds, life sciences champion and chair of GSK, shared insights into the potential of a supercluster. In an era where convergence of science and technology is pivotal, creating a world-class supercluster could drive the nation’s economic future and strengthen the UK’s position on the global stage.

Accelerating Innovation

In a panel discussion led by Dr. Barbara Ghinelli, Director of innovation clusters and Harwell campus, it was emphasised that accelerating innovation is a key driver for our economic future. Alongside her, Katherine Morgan from Barclays Eagle Labs and Sarah Haywood, MD of Advance Oxford, discussed the importance of convergence in science and technology.

Real Estate Revolution

The evolution of real estate to accommodate a new era of science and technology was a central topic. Emma Cariaga, joint head of Canada Water and head of residential at British Land, and Jenny Gardner, director of development ARC (Advanced Research Clusters), brought forward their perspectives on the transformative nature of real estate to support scientific advancement.

A Net Zero Future

The conference culminated with a focus on fostering innovation for a net zero future. Richard Todd, head of Oxford at Bidwells, and Max Bryan, head of science and technology at Bidwells, were key voices in this dialogue. The challenge and opportunity of ensuring energy efficiency while advancing the science and technology sectors were heavily emphasised.

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At Foreman Roberts, we were excited to be part of these insightful discussions.

As leaders in the design of Mechanical, Electrical, and Public Health (MEP) Engineering for buildings, we’re committed to using our expertise to deliver innovative, energy-efficient environments. We believe that these measures actively support the performance and wellbeing of the people and communities that occupy them, aligning with the conference’s key themes of creating a sustainable scientific superpower.

This conference has inspired and empowered us to continue pushing boundaries in our sector.

We look forward to sharing more insights and contributing to the UK’s journey to becoming a scientific superpower!