Here we go! UK and US set to reignite Special bond as blueprint set out for huge new deal

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Since leaving the EU, Boris Johnson has repeatedly stressed his goal of turning the UK into a  “science and technology superpower” by the end of the decade. The Prime Minister has said that he wants to turn the UK’s success in developing one of the first Covid vaccines and apply those strengths to areas like technology and the energy sector. Now, the UK may be close to achieving that goal, as senior officials from the UK and the US met yesterday to discuss scientific trade. 

On Tuesday, Science minister George Freeman met Dr Sethuraman Panchanathan, the Director of the National Science Foundation in the US.

After the meeting, Mr Freeman tweeted: “Being a #ScienceSuperpower  is about leveraging our global science + tech excellence for geopolitical influence to tackle global challenges.”

This comes as the two countries committed to strengthening their ties in the science and technology sector. 

Following US President Joe Biden’s visit the to the UK last year, the two countries announced that they “will develop a new partnership on science and technology to strengthen collaboration between our countries, creating jobs and protecting security.”

In a statement, they noted that the partnership will explore a number of areas for cooperation including research, innovation and commercialisation; defence, security, law enforcement and intelligence; and making sure technology is used as a force for good around the world.

The statement said: “It aims to strengthen cooperation in areas such as the resilience and security of critical supply chains, battery technologies, and emerging technologies including artificial intelligence (AI) and to improve the accessibility and flow of data to support economic growth, public safety and scientific and technological progress.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The United States is our closest ally and most important research partner – a partnership which harnesses the power of the free market, science and new technology to address some of humanity’s greatest challenges, from antimicrobial resistance to preparing for future pandemics.”

Mr Kwarteng noted that the “landmark” new partnership “will deepen those all-important ties and ensure Anglo-American research can continue to develop new technologies to generate wealth and prosperity for the good of mankind for generations to come.”

Presidential Science Adviser and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Eric Lander, said: “There are few relationships as consequential as the transatlantic partnership between the United States and United Kingdom in science and technology.

“We share a belief in the power of science and technology to improve health, prosperity and security, and a commitment to the importance of investigator-driven research, freedom of inquiry, and equitable participation in the S&T enterprise.

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“Together, we will seek to set a positive example of how countries can work together to solve the critical and transnational challenges of the 21st century, including pandemic preparedness, climate change, and cancer.”

Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Patrick Vallance, said: “I welcome this closer collaboration which will bring together the best of UK and US scientists and engineers. 

“By combining our expertise to tackle global challenges, such as cancer, climate change, and pandemic preparedness, we can make a real difference and improve people’s lives.”

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