The government has pledged a £64m injection into the UK’s clinical research system, off the back of Boris Johnson’s plans to make the country a “science superpower”.
The investment will go towards the development and trial of new Covid-19 treatments and inoculations, to ensure a “front-footed approach in tackling the virus”, health secretary Matt Hancock said.
“Clinical research has been vital in our fight against Covid-19 and has saved thousands of lives,” Hancock added.
“The link between research and benefit to patients through better treatments and care has never been clearer.”
Funds will also go towards boosting capacity for more virtual and remote trials and smoother delivery through quicker ethics reviews and speedier approval processes.
As well as towards digitising current processes to allow researchers to find patients and offer them places in trials, alongside monitoring health outcomes.
After Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities were revealed to have been disproportionately impacted by the virus, the injection also seeks to increase diversity and participation in research in communities traditionally under-served.
The government aims to increase research spending from nearly £15bn a year to £22bn by 2025, it was reported on Monday.
Building on the success of the vaccine rollout, prime minister Johnson will also chair a new National Science and Technology Council to provide “strategic direction” on how research is used for the “public good”.