Sir Patrick Vallance given key roles as PM states 'science superpower' ambitions

20 June 2021, 22:30 | Updated: 20 June 2021, 22:35

Sir Patrick Vallance is the Government's chief scientific adviser
Sir Patrick Vallance is the Government's chief scientific adviser. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Sir Patrick Vallance will be at the centre of a new drive by the Prime Minister to "cement the UK's place as a global science superpower".

Sir Patrick will be tasked with building on the UK's successful Covid vaccine rollout and applying it to other priorities, as well as developing technology to combat the climate crisis by reaching net zero and to cure, rather than just treat, cancer.

Boris Johnson announced the chief scientific adviser will head a new National Science and Technology Council tasked with ensuring the UK's innovations are used for the benefit of the nation.

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The new group, which will be chaired by the PM, will be asked to review which prospective technologies the nation focuses on.

Alongside his current roles that have seen him play a leading role in the pandemic response, Sir Patrick will also become the national technology adviser.

Mr Johnson is also tasking him with running a new Office for Science and Technology Strategy to drive Whitehall's science strategy.

He will ask the whole of government to work with Sir Patrick.

The Prime Minister said: "From discovery to delivery, our vaccination programme has proven what the UK can achieve at scale and at speed.

"With the right direction, pace and backing, we can breathe life into many more scientific and technological breakthroughs that transform the lives of people across the UK and the world.

"That's why I'm establishing a new ministerial council and office at the centre of government, so we can realise the limitless possibilities that research and technology has to offer and cement the UK's place as a global science superpower."

Sir Patrick said: "The new Office for Science and Technology Strategy will put science and technology right at the heart of policy-making and strengthen the way we work across government to reinforce the position of the UK as a science superpower.

"I look forward to working with the National Science and Technology Council to help identify cutting-edge research and technologies that will deliver strategic advantage for the UK."