Join the next HE Policy Network event

Our HE Policy Network event entitled The Biomedical Bubble: why UK research and innovation needs a greater diversity of priorities, politics, places and people, takes place on Wednesday 19 September, 4pm-6pm, in the Inox Conference Suite in the Students' Union Building. 

The panel includes:

  • Richard Jones, Professor of Physics, University of Sheffield and co-author of The Biomedical Bubble
  • Kirsten Bound, Executive Director of Research, Analysis and Policy, Nesta
  • Tom Forth, Head of Data, ODI-Leeds
  • Annette Bramley, Director of N8
  • Kieran Walshe, Professor of Health Policy & Management, Manchester Business School
  • James Wilsdon, Professor of Research Policy, University of Sheffield and co-author of The Biomedical Bubble (chair)

The Biomedical Bubble: why UK research and innovation needs a greater diversity of priorities, politics, places and people

Who gets a voice in decisions about the direction of science and innovation? How do we choose where to prioritise public funding? And with ambitious targets from government to increase public and private investment in R&D, how to do we realise the potential of new investment - for our economy, for our health and wellbeing, and for the pursuit of new knowledge?

These are some of the questions explored in a new report - The Biomedical Bubble - published in July 2018 by Nesta, the innovation foundation. Described as “lacerating” by the Financial Times, and “challenging, informed, superbly written” by Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, the report has caused a lot of reaction in the area of research policy.

Its central argument is that the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors have dominated policy thinking for far too long. These sectors are in deep trouble, with R&D productivity plummeting and investment falling. Meanwhile, much of the innovation needed for the NHS, public health and social care has been under-resourced. Greater emphasis needs to be given to the social, environmental, digital and behavioural determinants of health, and decisions about research priorities need to involve a greater diversity of perspectives, drawn from across the country. The creation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the right moment to rethink this balance.

This Sheffield launch of the report will explore whether, why and how the UK needs to escape the biomedical bubble if it is to realise the economic, social and health potential of extra investment in R&D. Our panel will bring together the report's authors with national and regional experts in innovation, health and productivity to debate its findings.

Places are limited so to ensure your place at this event please book your place here.

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