George Freeman calls for establishment of Commonwealth genomic programme

11th March 2019

On Commonwealth Day, George Freeman pays tribute to scientists and researchers in the Commonwealth and calls for the establishment of a Commonwealth genomics programme to achieve scale and global leadership in genetic research.

On this Commonwealth Day, as well as congratulating all who have helped the Commonwealth to survive and thrive for so long, may I highlight its ongoing role in science? It accounts for a third of the world’s population, but 12% of the world’s researchers and 10% of global research and development—particularly in the key global challenges of food, medicine and energy, where life science has so much to offer. Will the Minister meet me and Lord Howe to look at the potential of genomics? When I was Minister for genomics, we looked at establishing a Commonwealth genomics programme to give the UK scale and leadership in the global values and standards that are key to making sure that this revolution works for the benefit of the whole world.

I am truly in awe of my hon. Friend’s contribution in this area. He led such work before and during his time in Government, and he continues to do so. He has cited some impressive statistics, and I pay tribute to his role in championing such work and its importance to the Commonwealth. I would be more than happy to ensure that he meets the most relevant Minister to take his agenda forward.

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