Life Sciences Roundtables
The Thames Valley region is at the heart of the UK’s ‘Golden Triangle’, which links Oxford with London and Cambridge. It is a cluster worth £74bn ($100bn) annually and one of the densest clusters in Europe, comparable to other international super-clusters such as the one centred on Massachusetts.
The region’s research centre’s have been at the heart of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the world No.1 University, the University of Oxford’s vaccine quickly adopted by AstraZeneca and many in-region based companies contributing to the global response, including for example, vaccine’s manufacture, the supply of PPE and design, construction and distribution of ventilators. See also: Oxfordshire’s response to the global pandemic.
Investment in the regional continues with the recent opening of the £43m ($58m) Rosalind Franklin Institute and the UK’s first dedicated Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre facility due to be open in 2022. Both are located within the Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire.
Business-led Health and Life Sciences Partnership
In response to a direct invitation from central government, the Chamber established a business-led health and life sciences roundtable chaired by Bayer’s Simon Greenstreet. The initial ask and objective was to provide an informed contribution to the Life Sciences Sector Deal 2, part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Our relationship continues and engagement with central Government to ensure the Thames Valley health and life sciences community is heard. Ongoing work with central Government and priorities for 2022 include representation into the Life Sciences Vision and its ‘missions’ alongside ambitions to bring forward a business-led strategy for the retention of existing skills and the securing new talent into the workforce.
It is the only region-wide ‘sector group’ and brings together industry leaders from global corporates, SMEs, spin-outs and recently established inward investors; alongside Government stakeholders, local partners, such as Local Enterprise Partnerships; commercial landowners, such as Mapletree; academia and NHS Trusts.
Thames Valley’s Life Sciences Roundtable is kindly sponsored by Green Park; one of the UK’s leading business communities, home to over 60 companies and over 8000 employees, it sets the gold standard for 21st century business parks.
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The most recent Life Sciences Roundtable took place on Wednesday 15th December 2021. We were delighted to welcome guest speakers: Anna Sonley, Life Sciences Strategy, Office for Life Sciences; Jacinta George, Reading Scientific Services Ltd (RSSL) and Dr Kate Webb, The KWP Ltd.
Following the publication of the Government’s new Life Sciences Vision, we have recently reviewed our Thames Valley’s life sciences Strategy developed with the Group. During the meeting we shared these updates and discussed how best the region can collectively respond to the opportunities and ‘Missions’ contained within the Vision. Following presentations from Jacinta George and Dr Kate Webb, we discussed the business-led solution for skills development and talent retention. A ‘better together’ skills strategy is one option we might be proposing.