UK-US Atlantic Charter set to advance innovation as we “Build Back Better” from COVID-19

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden have announced an Atlantic Charter designed to work for the benefit of humanity. Namely, one and arguably the most important objective of which is to support the world to bring an end to, and recover from, the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commitments made in the new Atlantic Charter will be backed-up by a number of new policy priorities – expected to be agreed by the Prime Minister and President.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The agreements President Biden and I will make today, rooted as they are in our shared values and outlook, will form the foundation of a sustainable global recovery.”

In the last month, US companies including Liberty Global, Kraft Heinz and Innova Medical Group have announced new investments into the UK worth over £10 billion which will create over 2,000 jobs. During their meeting, the Prime Minister and President will discuss ways of further enhancing the UK-US economic relationship across several industries, including technology, healthcare, and aviation.

A key topic will be working to resume travel between the UK and US as soon as possible. Many in the UK and US have been unable to visit friends and family for well over a year because of coronavirus travel restrictions. Prior to the pandemic, more than 5 million Brits visited the US and over 4.5 million Americans visited the UK every year – more than any other country.

To strengthen UK and US efforts to beat the coronavirus pandemic and prevent any future outbreaks, the two leaders are expected to agree to scale up joint work on genomic sequencing and variant assessments. This includes the UK Health Security Agency’s new Centre for Pandemic Preparedness linking up with its US counterpart, the proposed National Center for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics, as part of an integrated global surveillance system.

The emergence of the more transmissible Delta, South African and Kent variants has shown that resting on our laurels and relying on vaccines simply will not drive out this pandemic, and if these attitudes leak into the future, we will not be sufficiently protected for the next one. An Atlantic Charter could facilitate more cohesive and sharper responses to new potential epidemics and pandemics.

It is expected that the leaders will agree to pursue a landmark technology agreement to be signed next year. The agreement will start a new era of strategic cooperation by reducing the barriers British tech firms face when trying to work with their US counterparts. By combining our shared expertise in areas like Artificial Intelligence and nanotechnology – including genomics and Quantum Technology, the UK and US may uncover groundbreaking technologies that change the way we live forever.

Healthcare technology investment in 2020 soared 47% to a new high of $51 billion and figures show it will rocket to even greater heights.

Overall healthcare investment is tipped to pass $10 trillion by 2022 on a 10-year upward trajectory, showing the global appetite for new healthcare systems, as well as treatments and vaccines for new and existing diseases.

A further sign of where new investment is going came with the launch of a $300 million Pandemic Protection Sub-fund by the Luxembourg-based Vector Innovation Fund (VIF) focusing on this ‘new age’ healthtech, and preparation for the next global healthcare challenge.

Paul Stannard, Chairman of The World Nano Foundation and VIF said: “The UK and US have always been frontrunners for scaling technology innovation and funding, and we have witnessed a surge in amazing technological advancements during the last few years.

“This is going to have a transformational effect on many industries from developing sustainable healthcare, energy and food resources as well as infrastructure and reducing carbon emissions in our cities.

“All of this requires fast-tracking these enabling technologies and we are developing a multi-billion-dollar pipeline of investments in commercializing these technologies. We welcome the Atlantic Charter and believe it can represent a new age of investment in technology. We hope Europe and the UK can find a similar path forward as it is so important to collaborate internationally when transforming investment in innovation.”


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