Biosciences Big Ideas Pipeline

23 January 2020

The Innogen institute has submitted a Big Idea in response to the UKRI-BBSRC call for ambitious and exciting ideas that could transform research and innovation in the UK.

Innogen is proposing the creation of a new institution and/or research-funding programme to bridge the translational gap between scientific research and innovation outcomes caused by non-adaptive, disproportionate regulatory systems.

Many current regulatory systems are inhibiting the translation of scientific research to desirable products and processes, for example in diagnostic devices, stem cell therapies and crop development, that that could address currently un-met societal needs and make major contributions to the UK economy. Today’s regulatory systems, developed to meet the needs of 20th century technologies, must adapt to meet the needs of 21st century innovations and halt this translational deficit.

Developing a sound, impartial, evidence-based foundation for future regulatory decision-making is key to realise the UK’s ambition to maximise the benefits from research. However, there are no funding mechanisms or infrastructures to support this. 

Smart regulation that reduces the barrier to innovation, while continuing to ensure the safety, quality and efficacy of products and processes, will enable more disruptive innovation to be developed, and contribute to deliver better value for money from public and commercial investment in scientific research. This has been recognised by the UK Government through the White paper on Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, to which Innogen’s PAGIT Report contributed.  

Given the new political appreciation of the importance of regulations and standards in future Brexit-related trade negotiations, it is particularly timely for UKRI-BBSRC to consider driving unconventional research approaches within and beyond academia with the following aims:

  • To foresight future regulatory challenges for innovative biotechnologies;
  • To demonstrate how systemic analyses (both quantitative and qualitative) can enable optimal policy and regulatory decisions for innovative biotechnologies;
  • To provide high quality evidence to support future biotechnology-related regulatory decisions;
  • To translate this knowledge and expertise into a more thriving UK bioeconomy and to deliver a globally leading role for the UK in demonstrating and delivering regulatory innovation to match the quality of our biotechnology innovation.