Position Statements on Biotechnology

Prime Minister Blair's sppech on British Science

Prime Minister Blair's speech on British science

PM Speech: 'Science Matters'

Source: "10 Downing St Newsroom"

In May 2002, Prime Minister Tony Blair gave a speech outlining the importance of science to the country's continued future prosperity. Mr Blair said: 'We stand on the verge of further leaps forward in scientific endeavour and discovery.'

The Prime Minister said that with 1% of the world's population, the UK funds 4.5% of the world's science, produce 8% of the scientific papers and receive 9% of the citations. This said the Prime Minister was an 'outstanding record', adding:

"The strength and creativity of our science base is a key national asset as we move into the 21st century."

"Britain has produced 44 Nobel laureates in the last 50 years, more than any country except the US."

"But this statistic does conceal a problem we must acknowledge. Only eight of those laureates are in the last 20 years. We have relied for too long on tradition and sentiment to aid our scientists. We need strong funding and strong public support, not just the warm glow of our traditions."

The Prime Minister outlined three main reasons why he wanted to address the potential of this new age of discovery. These were:

  • First, science is vital to the country's continued future prosperity.
  • Second, science is posing hard questions of moral judgement and of practical concern, which, if addressed in the wrong way, can lead to prejudice against science, 'which Mr Blair believed would be profoundly damaging'.
  • Third, as a result, the benefits of science will only be exploited through a renewed compact between science and society, based on a proper understanding of what science is trying to achieve.

On the challenge of promoting Science in Britain in the future, Mr Blair said:

"I want to make sure the UK is one of the best places in the world to do science. For that we need our people, equipment and infrastructure to be properly funded. And we should continue to promote British science abroad."

"We need to continue our improvements in Government handling of science, where public trust is particularly low. All departments need strong systems for managing research and handling advice. Scientific information and advice to Government should be freely available and accessible. Open and informed public debate on key scientific issues will be an integral part of our approach."

Click here to read the speech Mr Blair gave at the Royal Society in full.

International Support:

  1. International Organizations
  2. Africa
  3. Asia
  4. Europe
  5. North America
  6. Latin America
  7. Oceania

International Organizations

- Food and Agricultural Organization
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
- World Health Organization
- United Nations Development Programme
- United Nations Environment Programme
- Third World Academy of Sciences

- Agenda 21
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
- Vatican Pontifical Academy on Life

- International Council for Science Union

- International Life Sciences Institute


- International Society of African Scientists
- United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
- Africabio
- South African Minister Ngubane's statement at WSSD
- National Biotechnology Strategy for South Africa
- Former Kenyan President Moi's letter to US President Clinton

- Nigerian President Obasanjo's Statement


- Asian Development Bank
- Chinese Academy of Sciences
- Indian National Academy of Sciences
- National Academy of Science and Technology (Philippines)
- Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir's Speech at BioMalaysia 2002
- Policy Statement on Biotechnology (Philippines)


- Royal Society of London

- Prime Minister Blair's speech

- European Commission

- French Academy of Science

North America


United States of America

- American Medical Association
- American Society for Microbiology
- National Academy of Sciences
- National Research Council
- American Society of Plant Biologists
- Federation of Animal Science Societies
- American Midwest Farmers

  • American Agri-Women
  • American Soybean Association
  • National Chicken Council
  • National Corn Growers Association
  • National Cotton Council
  • National Milk Producers Federation
  • National Potato Council
  • National Turkey Federation
  • United Soybean Board


- Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee
- The Royal Society of Canada (The Canadian Academy of the Sciences and Humanities)
- Industry Canada (Federal Department of Industry)
- The 1998 Canadian Biotechnology Strategy: A Ongoing Renewal Process

Latin America

- Brazilian Academy of Sciences
- Mexican Academy of Sciences


- New Zealand Royal Commission

- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
- Australia New Zealand Food Authority
- Australian Biotechnology: A National Strategy (2000)

- National Farmers' Federation

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