I am the Minister for Innovation in the Department for Health and Social Care and currently the youngest member of the House of Lords.
My responsibilities include research, life sciences and NHS innovation; medicines pricing and regulation; data, digital and technology, including cyber security; international health diplomacy and global health security and rare diseases.
Learning from personal experience for a healthier way to do politics.
I was born in Johannesburg in 1979 to a South African nurse and an English cardiologist who were working at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto but our family soon returned to the UK. My parents worked for nearly 30 years in the NHS giving me first hand knowledge of some of the challenges facing our health service.
First elected as an MP for Oxford in 2010, I was elected Chair of the Science & Technology Select Committee by a large majority of MPs from all parties. One of the most hotly contested positions in the House of Commons, the Science and Technology Committee exists to ensure that Government policy and decision-making are based on good scientific advice and evidence.
I am so far both the youngest ever select committee chair in UK history and the only woman ever to chair the Science & Technology Select Committee.
During my chairmanship, the Committee’s inquiries included the Science Budget, Big Data, Digital Skills, Satellites and Space and Science in the context of the EU Referendum and became one of the most influential committees in Westminster.
In 2016, I was appointed Minister for Public Health and Innovation.
During this time, I simultaneously oversaw two major investment and transformation programmes into our Mental Health Services and NHS Digital and Cyber Security Systems, the largest ever health research investment, which funded 20 NHS and university partnerships across England to develop ground-breaking treatments, our world leading 100,000 Genomes Project and the Fleming Fund into improving diagnosis and surveillance of AMR in low-income countries.
I also founded national campaign against child sexual exploitation, Childhood Lost, which I started in response to the appalling Oxford child abuse case. I secured the backing major Children’s Charities and successfully amended child protection legislation to enable police to better protect victims of sexual abuse.
After the 2017 General Election…
I became Chair of the Human Tissue Authority, Board Member of Oxford University Innovations, Advisory Board Member of Push Doctor and Eagle Genomics, Honorary Professor of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy at UCL, and a Board Member of the Campaign for Science and Engineering.
In January 2019, Nicola became Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford.