News Release

Biotechnology Needs Urgent Investment, Warns Leading UK Scientist

21st February 2007

Caption: Dr Damian O'Kane, Professor James Allen, Provost Magee Campus, Baroness Susan Greenfield, Barry Henderson
Urgent investment into biotechnology is needed if we are to cure diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s – that was the message from leading science communicator Baroness Susan Greenfield, speaking at the University’s Magee campus today.

Baroness Greenfield, who is regarded as one of the most influential voices in science policy in the UK, also said Government should offer tax breaks or subsidies to investors in the biotechnology field.

She was speaking at the Magee campus during one of a number of engagements in the North West organised by the North West Science and Technology Partnership in collaboration with the University’s Step Up programme.

Addressing an invited audience of academics and industry leaders, the Baroness stressed the importance of placing science at the centre of the new economy

“Biotechnology is the very area we need to invest in if we are going to cure cancer, if we are going to cure Alzheimer’s disease. We do need urgently investment in those areas,” she said.

“My own view is that perhaps Government could help by subsidising or giving tax breaks to investors, if you can do it for the film industry, why not do it for the biotech industry.

“It is needed because we are getting increasingly convergent technologies. In the news recently, for example we’ve heard about artificial retina. One can imagine very soon, increasing technologies involving expertise in the biomedical sciences along with physical sciences, information technology and nanotechnology.

“These technologies are going to lead to very exciting exploitation, very exciting possibilities for commerce.”

During her one-day visit to the North West, Baroness Greenfield also paid a visit to St Mary’s College to officially confer Specialist Science Status on the school.

The specialist status was achieved largely due to St Mary’s participation in the University’s Step Up Programme.

She also addressed pupils from over 15 schools in the North West on the importance of science education.

Baroness Greenfield is currently a Professor of Pharmacology at Oxford University. She was granted a non-political Life Peerage in 2001 and awarded a CBE in the Millennium New Year’s Honours List.

She has launched three academic start-up companies and is Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

PODCAST: Baroness Susan Greenfield discusses the issues facing bioscience and bioscientists in the UK today (15 mins) 

Click to download:

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