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expert reaction to resignation of George Freeman as Minister for Science, Research and Innovation

Earlier today George Freeman MP resigned his position as Minister for Science, Research and Innovation.


Susie Rabin, Associate Director of Parliamentary and Public Affairs, Royal Society of Biology (RSB), said:

“UK science remains central to both domestic growth and addressing national and global challenges, from climate change to vaccine development. We urge the government not to lose momentum at this critical time. George Freeman has been a strong advocate for his portfolio, ensuring the value and impact of science was clear across departments – we hope he can contribute in future roles. We have seen seven changes in this key ministerial remit in the last seven years – stability in this post in essential, and a place should be offered at the cabinet table to ensure science can deliver to maximum effect for the UK.”


Prof Jackie Hunter FMedSci, Board Director, BenevolentAI, and former Chief Executive of BBSRC, said:

“I was really pleased when George Freeman was made science minister – he understands the importance of science to the country, both from a societal and an economic point of view, and he is really passionate about the role of science and its potential to deliver. I also believe he is a man of strong principles and integrity, which I saw at first hand when I was at BBSRC (although he was not science minister then).”


Dr Martin Turner, Head of Policy, UK BioIndustry Association (BIA), said:

“George Freeman has been a great champion for UK biotech and the wider science community. His work on and commitment to the Life Sciences Vision, international collaboration and increasing R&D investment, among many other crucial issues, has been tireless and enjoys cross-party support. Progress must continue on these key agendas. Kwasi Kwarteng and George Freeman have laid great plans to secure the health and economic benefit of life sciences for the UK, on which future governments must build.”


Prof Liam Smeeth FMedSci, Director, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), said:

“I was saddened to see the loss of George Freeman as Science Minister. George was highly knowledgeable and truly committed to supporting science. He really understood the value of science to both the economy and to wider society, and fully appreciated the leading role the UK plays worldwide in health research.”


Prof Lord John Krebs FRS FMedSci, Emeritus Professor of Zoology, University of Oxford, said:

“George Freeman is a passionate advocate for science and his departure is a great loss to our community. This loss is particularly acute at the moment, when the future of our association with Horizon, as well as the implementation of alternative plans, are very uncertain.”


Declared interests

The nature of this story means everyone quoted above could be perceived to have a stake in it. As such, our policy is not to ask for interests to be declared – instead, they are implicit in each person’s affiliation.

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