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Industry Research Visit to NI

Scientific and Medical personnel from 19 Global Pharmaceutical companies gathered in Belfast on the 15th September 2014 for a  24 hour visit to Northern Ireland to meet with leading local Clinical Researchers and discuss how Northern Ireland can best position itself to increase levels of collaboration around clinical research with Industry.

The visit was organised by a steering group representing Northern Ireland’s Health & Social Care R&D Division, ABPI NI Innovation Group, HSC Innovations, Queen’s University, University of Ulster and Invest NI.

It was organised as an opportunity for medical and scientific staff from global pharmaceutical companies to engage with key Government, Health & Social Care and Academic stakeholders in Northern Ireland. The goal of the event was ‘’to build relationships between the Northern Ireland and Pharmaceutical industry Clinical researchers with a view to increasing collaborative research.’’

The UK is in a tough global race to attract investment and compete with other economies across the world in order to sustain and grow its vibrant and innovative research community and advanced manufacturing expertise. We cannot underestimate the growing challenges for innovation in the UK. The UK’s global share of clinical trials has fallen in recent years and the UK is slipping down the table in terms of the national origin of the leading 100 global medicines by sales. Currently Northern Ireland does not attract its ‘fair share’ of competitive R&D funding relative to other Regions in the UK.

Life Sciences is one of the priority sectors that will drive the future growth of Northern Ireland's economy. Over the past few years, Northern Ireland industry, academia and government have made significant commitments to the development of Life Science capabilities. Significant funding has been committed for infrastructure enhancement, collaborative research, new product development and staff training initiatives.

The success to date has been based on a model of collaboration in which Government, academia, clinical and the private sector have worked together in partnership in developing a vibrant Life Sciences sector. We look to continue this success into the future through building on these existing partnerships and developing new ones in new and challenging areas of growth.

The Northern Ireland Executive is working on a Life and Health Sciences Strategy. This strategy will be cross departmental with input from DETI, DHSSPS and DEL. MATRIX, the Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel provides advice to NI government on maximising the economic impact of R&D, Science and Innovation. Their vision is an economy based on exploiting our strengths in Science and Technology led by business, inspired by academia and facilitated by government. The MATRIX Life and Health Sciences panel will inform government on this strategy. The group output will be a foresight report informing government on future opportunities for growth in Life and Health Sciences in Northern Ireland.

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) – ABPI NI currently represents 36 global research based pharmaceutical companies with a presence in NI. The Innovation group’s goal is ‘’to deliver a measurable increase in contribution to the NI Health and Wealth policy agenda through a programme of activities aimed at increasing the presence and impact of the research-based pharmaceutical sector. To ensure that our Industry is seen as a key stakeholder in delivering the Health and Wealth agenda.’’

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News release from ABPI