"Chris Skidmore comes to the role with significant insight into the science and engineering sector through his constituency, which is home to the Bristol and Bath Science Park, the National Composite Centre and Airbus. He has been an advocate in Parliament for the skills and infrastructure to support science and has served in health, education and Treasury roles.
The Minister has a big agenda in front of him: to increase the UK's research intensity by 50% over ten years. This goal lies at the heart of the Industrial Strategy and the Government's ambitions to increase productivity and prosperity across the UK.
I am looking forward to working with him."
About Chris Skidmore MP
Chris Skidmore was educated at Bristol Grammar School before studying Modern History at Oxford University. He worked for former Science Minister David Willetts and Michael Gove as an advisor, as well as various right-leaning think tanks including the Bow Group and Policy Exchange.
Skidmore was elected Conservative MP for Kingswood in May 2010. The constituency is located in South Gloucestershire and includes Bristol and Bath Science Park, the National Composite Centre and Airbus. He served as a member of both the Health and Education Select Committees, before being appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor following his successful re-election in 2015. From 2016 to 2018, he was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Cabinet Office, before becoming Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party for Policy in the 2018 Cabinet reshuffle. He was appointed Universities and Science Minister in December 2018.
Skidmore was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 EU membership referendum, and has subsequently called for the Conservative Party to define itself by more than Brexit. He backs the Prime Minister’s proposed deal on Brexit.
Chris Skidmore had made 3 mentions of science in his parliamentary record:
On UK space policy
"I welcome my hon. Friend’s statement (former Science Minister Sam Gyimah) on this matter. As part of the new space sector deal, will he recognise the importance of research and development, particularly in materials technology? With that in mind, may I extend an invitation to him as Science Minister to come to the National Composites Centre and the Bristol and Bath Science Park to see the excellent work that is being done there in this regard?" (July 2018)
"I propose that the law be changed, so that pupils can be given not only the entitlement that was once promised to them, but what I call a “right to learn”. If a school is unable to offer triple science GCSE for whatever legitimate reason—and I fully understand that the provision of laboratories and specialist science staff is critical—it should have a duty to ensure that pupils are given the chance to study for those GCSEs elsewhere. I hope that such a duty would in itself act as a positive enabling force to help to end the “subject deserts” that are afflicting parts of the country, highlighting the fact that the current situation must change. I hope that it would ensure greater collaboration between schools, driving up further the number of pupils taking triple science GCSE." (March 2015)
"The area (MP's constituency) is currently home to the Bristol and Bath science park, Airbus, the Harlequin business park and the National Composites Centre, and it has the potential to grow even further. The area contains a flagship employment site for the west of England, which was recognised by the Government in the establishment of the Emersons Green enterprise area. There is the potential for developing 45 hectares of employment space, which would provide economic growth for the creation of some 7,000 new jobs. At the heart of that employment site is the Bristol and Bath science park, which is home to more than 40 successful businesses and is a crucial hub for young and emerging science and technology companies to grow and thrive. One of the park’s success stories has been the National Composites Centre, which has become an internationally renowned asset for the delivery of world-class design and rapid manufacture for sectors including aerospace, automotive and heavy infrastructure." (July 2015)