Christmas has come early for British science and innovation as the UK government unveils a £6 billion package and shiny new strategy to keep the sector at the “forefront of global excellence”.

The ambitious new plan, which is to be unveiled later today by Universities, Science and Cities Minister Greg Clark, sets out the Government’s priorities for investment and support until to 2020/21 and the key principles that will underpin science and innovation policy now and further ahead.

As part of the strategy, £3 billion will support individual capital projects and institutional capital to maintain the excellence of laboratories at universities and research institutes.

A total of £2.9 billion will also be streamed into addressing scientific ‘grand challenges’, including £20 million towards an innovation centre on ageing, based in Newcastle.

Precision med catapult

Also, the Catapult network - comprised of Innovate UK-funded technology and innovation centres where UK businesses, scientists and engineers can work together on R&D topics - will be expand with two more Catapults for Precision Medicine and Energy Systems, due to open doors in 2015.

“Science and innovation will play an important part in defining the UK’s place in the world in the 21st century. This strategy builds on the great strengths of British science and enterprise and will make sure the UK is the best place in the world to do science and grow an innovative business,” said Clark.

“We need to maintain our competitive edge so this strategy sets out a long-term plan for expanding our innovation infrastructure, creating high value jobs and putting science and innovation at the heart of economic growth,” added Vince Cable, Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

ABPI support

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has welcomed the move, having consistently called for a science and innovation strategy that is aligned with the Government’s industrial strategy.

“I hope that the strategy leads to a focus on sharpening the translational focus in academic discovery and bolstering its pull through to commercially viable new therapies. This would help to underpin industry investment in the UK," said chief executive Stephen Whitehead.

Read the full strategy here.