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The UK and Canada have unveiled agreements on biomanufacturing, quantum, climate change and alternative protein research, as part of a package of announcements aimed at greatly deepening collaboration on science and innovation between the two countries.

UK Science Minister George Freeman was in Ottawa, meeting Canada’s Minister of Science, Innovation and Industry, Francois-Phillipe Champagne, to sign a Memorandum of Cooperation on biomanufacturing and launch a £20 million joint biomanufacturing programme.

The £20 million joint biomanufacturing programme, which will receive £10 million from each government, is designed to grow the biomanufacturing sector between the UK and Canada to ensure both countries are fully prepared for future pandemics.

This will include efforts to build a talent pipeline for biomanufacturing, providing the skilled workforce needed to grow the sector in the future, funding UK and Canadian businesses and research organisations to work together on joint projects developing future products and services, and backing businesses in the sector to grow and scale at speed through greater links with investors and shared knowledge.

The focus of the Biomanufacturing Collaboration is to drive economic growth by bringing together the complementary strengths from Canada and the UK to support the growth of businesses in this area, delivering economic growth for both nations and creating highly-skilled jobs.

The memorandum is just one of several agreements being made today by the two science and innovation powerhouses, aimed at tackling some of the biggest issues facing our world, from tackling climate change through to ensuring both nations have the vaccine production capabilities to meet the needs of future pandemics.

They will also drive economic growth in both the UK and Canada, ensuring high-growth industries like quantum and biotechnology benefit from both government investment and closer international collaboration.

UK Minister of State for the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman MP, said, “The UK and Canada are natural partners, with shared cultural, economic and historical ties that stretch back centuries and a strong recent history of collaboration on science and innovation across a range of key sectors from agri-tech to genomics and space.

In the global race for science and technology investment, and as we turn towards innovation in order to tackle urgent global challenges, the UK and Canada share deep values and interests in harnessing science for global good.

As we deepen our global science and technology collaborations with key R&D economies, I’m delighted to be in Canada to agree a range of sectors in which to deepen our longstanding collaboration: from AI, biosecurity and engineering biology through to quantum, space sustainability and polar research.”

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry said, “The United Kingdom and Canada have a uniquely profound and positive relationship, nourished by our shared history and values.

The memorandum of cooperation on biomanufacturing and the joint statement on quantum science and technology are important steps to make the most of our world-class capabilities, which will drive innovation and economic growth in our both countries. We will continue to work together to foster greater collaboration in science and research to shape the economy of the future.”

Alongside the Memorandum of Cooperation on biomanufacturing, the UK and Canada have agreed on a range of collaborations as part of today’s announcement, including:

  • Canada announced as a partner to the UK’s £119 million International Science Partnership Fund (ISPF). Initially, this would see £4.5 million in funding to enable UK researchers to take part in the Canada-led International Joint Initiative for Research in Climate Change and Adaptation and Mitigation, which sets out plans to help the most vulnerable people globally to deal with the impact of climate change.
  • A Statement of Intent on Quantum, which sets out a roadmap of activity, including the introduction of joint research programmes and increased mobility for researchers. Collaboration begins immediately, with 20 PhD students from Canada travelling to the UK to participate in the UK-Canada quantum summer school.
  • An Innovate UK–Protein Industries Canada to advance innovation in plant-based foods through collaborative R&D projects between businesses and research organisations from Canada and the UK.