Boosting research and development in the thriving life sciences industry would deliver up to 5,000 new jobs for East of England, new figures reveal

FUTURISTIC: BT Pulse showcase demonstrating cutting edge technology for use in healthcare and pharma

FUTURISTIC: BT Pulse showcase demonstrating cutting edge technology for use in healthcare and pharmaceuticals - Credit: Archant

The East of England stands to benefit from a high- quality jobs and growth bonanza over the next decade in its already healthy life sciences sector, according to new research.

Thousands of extra jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds of growth would be added to the region if increases in life science research and development rise in line with government targets, according to research conducted by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

Specifically, around 2,700 extra well-paid, skilled jobs would be created for the East with the added research and development, along with more than £200m of extra growth, in 2027 alone.

The region is predicted to outdo the West Midlands, another big regional player when it comes to the life sciences.

Much of the extra growth would come around established “hot spots” for investments like Cambridge. But other parts of the region, such as Norwich, would also reap big benefits.

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The life sciences sector is made up of industries like food science, plus plant and veterinary science. But the pharmaceutical industry is the single biggest contributor.

The East of England figures are projected on the basis that R&D in the region’s life sciences sector will jump from £147m in 2015 to £271m in 2027.

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The Government set out in the Budget last year that it would commit to increasing its investment in R&D to 2.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product by 2027, to help the UK to catch up with the R&D spending of the most advanced economies like Japan, Germany and the United States.

In time, the investment could rise to 3 per cent of GDP, which the ABPI research shows if met by 2027 would create an even greater boom in jobs.

In this scenario, nearly 5,000 extra high quality jobs will be created, with a sizeable £366m of growth added to region.

On a nationwide level, the ABPI research suggests that the extra R&D investment in the pharmaceutical sector brought about by the 2.4 per cent GDP target would create tens of thousands of jobs in the UK overall in 2027 (24,000) and boost growth by nearly £1.8bn.

If R&D investment rises to 3 per cent, the gains will be even more bountiful, with the pharmaceutical sector creating almost 44,000 jobs, bringing in well over £3bn for the UK economy – at £3.27bn.

Dr Richard Torbett from ABPI said: “This research underlines why increasing the amount that government and industry spends on innovation is so important. Industries like pharmaceuticals have the potential to generate the jobs of tomorrow, as well as securing the thousands of jobs they provide in the East of England today.

“But it’s not just about jobs and the economy. Our scientists work hand-in-hand with the NHS to provide medicines which save and improve millions of lives in this country, around the world and in communities in this region.

“By investing in the life sciences like pharmacy we can be part of the battle against illnesses that continue to blight so many lives – while also helping to deliver jobs and prosperity in regions like the East of England and across Britain.”

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