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What’s Onward This Week

Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer vied for public attention this week as they set out their pre-election stalls. However one thing was missing from their speeches: legal migration. 

Small boats may dominate the election debate as one of the thorniest issues for the next Government. But with over 1.4 million people migrating to Britain – equivalent to a city bigger than Birmingham – in two years, this is the bigger challenge. 

As Onward co-founder Neil O’Brien MP argued this week, we’ll need to do better than a backslapping review of graduate visas if we’re going to deliver the immigration system the public wants: lower numbers and an end to low-skilled, low-pay migration.


✍️ Research

What do an Impossible Burger, the Covid vaccine, and Coca Cola’s PlantBottle have in common? They’re all a result of engineering biology. That’s the frontier technology Onward’s latest Science Superpower Substack explored yesterday. 

Britain is already good at it, with the fourth most globally impactful research and more engineering biology start-ups than any other European country. But one corner of Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Kendall Square biotech cluster – dubbed “the most innovative square mile on the planet” – beats our efforts.

Biotech is at a tipping point, with more and more nascent inventions ready to leave the lab and hit the market. But for all our research and scientific prowess, Britain isn’t yet prepared to cash in on our innovation. 

Onward’s Allan Nixon and Anastasia Bektimirova argue that the UK needs to develop the facilities, talent and business acumen with a new National Engineering Biology Institute to lead on this frontier technology. 


📰 Media Mentions

Onward’s Director Sebastian Payne argued in the i that the Conservatives need to win Reform voters back, not form an electoral pact with the rival party.

Head of Communications Cameron Smith argued in ConservativeHome that London Conservatives need to renew and rejuvenate the party to win again in the capital. 

The Evening Standard covered his argument.


🌐 Onward Online

What’s engineering biology, and why is it vital to the UK’s future? Head of Science and Technology Allan Nixon explains.


🗓️ Upcoming Events

Vodafone Graphic - Onward Newsletter 17/05/2024

Strong digital connectivity is essential to fully participate in today’s economy. Much progress has been made on broadband connections and mobile coverage in rural areas over the last decade. But for too many rural households and businesses, the lack of quality digital infrastructure continues to hinder productivity and cut people off from society.

Several initiatives aim to close the rural connectivity gap. The Shared Rural Network is helping to deliver 4G coverage across the countryside, while the Government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy aims to provide nationwide 5G coverage by 2030, including in rural areas. And the Government also targets supplying 1.5 million more rural premises with gigabit broadband by the end of next year.

This event, led by Environment Secretary Steve Barclay MP, will bring together a panel of experts to debate how the private and public sectors can collaborate to enhance digital connectivity for rural communities and help boost their economies.

We hope you are able to join us.

Date: Wednesday 22nd May
Time: 14:00- 15:00
Location: Central Westminster

To sign up for this event, please click here.

Event Graphics 2023 25 - Onward Newsletter 17/05/2024

Onward After Hours is our event series for under 35s, connecting the next generation of centre-right political thinkers. These events bring together journalists, special advisers, parliamentary staffers and more, to inspire fresh thinking and build connections.  

This evening will be a great opportunity for a casual drink and a chance to discuss the policy agenda and what matters most for young voters.

We hope you are able to join us.

Date: Tuesday 21st May
Time: 18:00- 20.30
Location: Central Westminster

To sign up for this event, please click here.


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