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Network Spring 2017: Chief Executive's comment

In January, the government published a green paper seeking consultation on its Industrial Strategy, a plan to create a stronger economy and a fairer society across the UK.

Of particular relevance to the research councils is the ambition to invest in science, research and innovation, and to do more to commercialise our world-class science to spread economic growth right across the UK.

The MRC is already doing well in this regard. For example, with Innovate UK our Biomedical Catalyst has funded some truly innovative ideas from researchers and small businesses, bringing new technologies for treating and diagnosing disease to patients (see page 7 (PDF, 14.53MB)).

And our stratified medicine consortia have brought together biotech and pharma companies with academic expertise from all parts of the UK, including Manchester, Belfast, Newcastle and Glasgow.

But the green paper encourages us to go further. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, announced last autumn, provides opportunities for the research councils to fund cross-disciplinary research and use our considerable experience of supporting regional clusters of excellence to encourage balanced growth across the UK.

The government and the research councils are consulting widely on both the green paper and strategies for particular sector areas. We welcome your comments.

Sir John Savill

MRC Chief Executive