The UK Life Science Strategy; the Talent Pipeline Progression and SME Support

In late 2011 the UK Government put forward a well-structured strategy to ultimately boost, progress and sustain the UK’s industry position in global Life Sciences. Being recruitment focused, I am biased to believe that fundamentally the talent which is developed and invested in will be the driver of the overall strategy and its success.

I believe that the actions proposed are excellent. Agreeably, the talent pipeline of graduates and potential graduates require nurturing and clear direction of a career path, and opportunities must be provided by key players in the UK. At the same time Universities need to ensure courses are tailored to business needs and expose students to commercial factors. Secondly, looking at the focus on Life Science SME’s (who are often at the root of ground breaking research), they are also due to see greater attention in terms of developing management skills and financial support.

However, amongst the details and propositions, like others I am questioning the progression and outcomes to date. Coming up to 3 years since the strategy was announced, has the life science industry strategy really delivered in terms of talent focus and SME support?

Looking at the series of updates over 2014 in particular – it would appear yes, quite simply the UK government is delivering on initiatives it has set out to, whether this is at the pace or the extent that we expect is another question.

The Budget 2014 update of April details advances such as £167m for the apprenticeship grant for employers, responding to demand with priority to smaller businesses. April 2014 also sees the start of an increase in R&D tax credits for loss making SME’s rising by 3.5%. These are just 2 examples of a multitude of successions from last month.

Respectively, the UK Life Science industry continues to strengthen and grow, which we should continue to recognise and support. I strongly believe the early career opportunities and continuous development of SME support in this particular industry plays a pivotal role. This is not only because of the UK’s quest to be known as global Life Science leaders but fundamentally our ability to advance in healthcare research and how we support this through the 3 strategy pillars.

Christina Sear, Resourcing Business Partner – Regulatory Affairs

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