CEO Update | Monday 29 April 2019

Since the Brexit extension was agreed between the UK Government and the EU, the BIA has been working with the Government to understand the consequences of the extension for our members and the wider UK life sciences sector.


Last week we received a letter from the Office of Life Sciences which stated that the Cabinet Office has now confirmed that the next date for a possible no-deal Brexit will be the 31 October. While this confirms that a no-deal cliff edge Brexit is still a possibility, this clarity from government is welcome and should provide some respite to companies and the wider sector that a no-deal scenario is months, not days or weeks away.


While Brexit is causing some uncertainties over this year’s Spending Review, it is important to note that the Government remains committed to raising R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. The BIA will work to highlight the benefit of public investment in the sector regardless of the scope of the Spending Review. This week, the team met with a few members of the UKRI Board to explain the layout of the UK bioscience sector and highlight the sector’s priorities. I also met with Rebecca Endean, UKRI’s Director of Strategy, to better understand UKRI’s priorities for the 2.4% target and to provide an update on our thinking. You can read more about our priorities for the Spending Review here.


The Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC) programme has been established by the CGT Catapult and the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP), of which BIA is a partner, through a £1.5M award from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). Following successful programme launches in England, ATAC is now delighted to announce its first ever Scottish ATMP Apprenticeship – the Modern Apprenticeship in Life Sciences (ATMP) for Scottish employers which is recruiting now and is targeted for new entrants or existing staff to upskill in applied biological sciences and practical laboratory skills. If you think this may be something you would like to consider, please email for further details.


We gave a nod last week to #WorldIPDay, acknowledging the critical role of intellectual property in our industry. Our Intellectual Property Advisory Committee continues to go from strength to strength, and if you’d like to catch up on our latest work you can take a look at our new quarterly report here. To keep up with our work, be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


We are  starting to build up to a busy events schedule in June and July, where we will be in Alderley Park for a member networking lunch and in Oxford for our next Women in Biotech event. In July, we have our annual Summer Reception, this year towering over the Thames in Tower Bridge – this popular event is a chance to unwind for the summer and network with others in the sector. You can book your tickets here. We will be busy throughout the summer preparing for our Autumn conference season, kicking off with our Regulatory Conference on 17 September (save the date!); tickets are already available for our Bioscience Forum on 17 October, and will soon be available for bioProcess, this year in Liverpool, on 27-28 November.