Norfolk set to lead global Green Revolution with £90m new Government funding
24th May 2012
How is Britain going to grow and trade its way out of the debt crisis? What are we going to sell to whom to earn our way in the world? These are the key questions confronting and shaping our generation in Government as we seek to rebuild a sustainable economic recovery. What are the markets of tomorrow which Britain needs to be competing in?
I believe the answer is increasingly clear – the pace of development in the developing world is creating new markets for us in Britain to serve and sell to. The challenge of global sustainable development – how to feed, fuel and ensure public health – is our Global Grand Challenge. The explosive growth of population and GDP in the developing world creates urgent problems of food security, public health and clean energy.
The UK’s life sciences – the application of bioscience to solving human challenges in health, food and fuel – provide a platform for huge global growth. And Norwich Research Park's strengths put us at the forefront of that bioscience revolution. That's why in my dual roles as Government Life Science Advisor and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agricultural Science, I have been working with the Government, research institutions, academics and businesses to promote a wider recognition of Norfolk and the UK’s Life Science research base. That's why I never cease to highlight how breakthroughs in genetics research, synthetic and systems biology and plant breeding techniques can drive a new Green Revolution in which a new generation of crops will allow us to feed the world.
The UK's world leading research base in biomedicine is well known, but for too long we have neglected our world-beating Agricultural Research - nowhere stronger than here in Norfolk.
Today marks a turning point. The Minister for Universities and Science, Rt. Hon. David Willetts MP today comes to Norwich to announce £260m new funding for the bio-economy as the launch pad of a new era of UK leadership in the 'Bio-economy Revolution' sweeping the globe. £90m of the £250m being announced is coming to Norfolk's world-class crop and food research Institutes. The county that gave the world the first Agricultural Revolution is now ready to help lead the new global Bio-economy Revolution.
This is great news for the Norfolk economy - highlighting our potential as a centre of innovation and growth for decades to come. As we have seen in Cambridge, world-class research drives new companies and jobs. With the fast rail, broadband and road links we need, we can build a modern high skilled economy without spoiling Norfolk's special character.