UKHSA Advisory Board: Science and Research Committee minutes – GOV.UK

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Updated 23 January 2023

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Date: Tuesday 24 January 2022
Sponsor: Jon Friedland
The purpose of the paper is to provide the Advisory Board with minutes of the 30 September 2022 meeting of the Science and Research Committee. The minutes were agreed on 1 December 2022.
The Advisory Board is asked to note the minutes of 30 September 2022 meeting of the Science and Research Committee.
Title of meeting: UKHSA Science and Research Committee
Date: Friday 30 September 2022
Present were:
In attendance:
22/001 The Chair welcomed participants to the first meeting of the Science and Research Committee.
22/002 All attendees gave a short introduction on their role and background.
22/003 The Science and Research Committee agreed the Terms of Reference (enclosure SRC/22/001). It was noted that external experts would be invited to provide required expertise with John Arne-Røttingen confirmed as the international impact expert.
22/004 The Chief Scientific Officer introduced the UKHSA Science Strategy (enclosure SRC/22/002).
22/005 Discussion noted that engagement so far was positive and had focused on internal feedback and workshops with industry, academia and other partners. The Committee encouraged UKHSA to work with global partners in developing the strategy and realise the stated ambition of being a global leader. It was unclear how the main strategy and science strategy aligned.
22/006 The Science and Research Committee welcomed work so far on the Science Strategy but noted that more detail was needed. Suggestions on further detail included partnerships and health equity in the presentation of the strategy.
22/007 Discussion followed on the role of UKHSA in setting science priorities. It was noted the remit letter stated UKHSA’s role in signalling to research funders key priorities for research. Further work was encouraged on arrangements to identify priorities. The strategy could include further detail on how to influence and collaborate with partners.
22/008 As the Science Strategy took a longer view of UKHSA, the Committee were keen to understand business funding behind longer term work in the organisation.
22/009 Comments continued on the role of ‘centres’ in UKHSA with their structural aim initially unclear. The proposed establishment of centres was seen as a way of signalling scientific priorities. The need to be critical on the value of any centre, including a need for detailed honest evaluation was flagged.
22/010 A key suggestion was to be specific on the impact expected through the Science Strategy to encourage collaboration and/or government funding. For example, the impact of the strategy on health outcomes and linked economic impact, would make the document appeal to the right audiences.
22/011 Members were encouraged to send further comments via correspondence in advance of the strategy going to the Executive Committee and the Advisory Board in November.
22/012 The Chief Scientific Officer and Clinical Fellow introduced the proposal for formation of a new UKHSA Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre (enclosure SRC/22/003). The VDEC would consolidate UKHSA activity on vaccine discovery, development and evaluation and raise our profile in these areas. It would present opportunities to work in partnership for better health outcomes and commercial opportunities for UKHSA.
22/013 The Science and Research Committee were keen to understand how the VDEC sat in the context of the Vaccine Taskforce which was primarily to consolidate existing activity with the commercial and procurement aspects transitioning to UKHSA from 1 October 2022.
22/014 It was suggested to focus on the gap in the market that UKHSA was trying to fill which centred around the unique expertise UKHSA could provide. Additional thought should be given to how the centre would evolve over time. The current proposal of the VDEC was considered broad and should have further clarity of UKHSA’s involvement within steps of vaccine development process from trial to commercialisation. Additionally, consideration should be given to clarifying engagement with stakeholders such as an external regulator.
22/015 The Chief Scientific Officer would discuss with John Arne-Røttingen on risks across international sector and the global impact on public health realised by working with international partners.
22/016 The Science and Research Committee supported the idea of a VDEC and encouraged it to be seen as a vaccine centre rather than broad science centre. It was thought that bringing all vaccine activity under clear leadership would provide synergy across the various activities.
22/017 Discussion noted the following topics for future meetings:
22/018 Thanks were noted to all for preparing excellent papers, presenting and arranging the meeting.
22/019 There being no other business, the meeting ended at 12:26pm.
[name redacted]
September 2022
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