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Ghani and Freeman both say they are new science ministers

Image: pxl.store, via Shutterstock


Rishi Sunak reappoints both current science minister and her predecessor to the business department

Number 10 has confirmed that current science minister Nusrat Ghani is to stay on as a minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

But previous science minister George Freeman has also been reappointed to Beis.

They have since both tweeted that they have been appointed as science ministers, in a move that seems to split the brief in two.

Ghani tweeted on 26 October that she was pleased “to be reappointed and continue my work” at Beis, using DNA, satellite, vaccine and ship emojis in her tweet. She added: “Continuity is important and pleased to be reappointed as science and investment security minister.”

Meanwhile, Freeman tweeted that it was “a privilege and honour to be appointed by HM the King as minister of the crown for science, technology and innovation in the new government by prime minister Rishi Sunak”. He used microscope and electricity emojis, and he updated his Twitter bio to “minister for science, technology, innovation and space”.

Ghani was first confirmed as science minister on 3 October when Liz Truss was prime minister, with Jacob Rees-Mogg her secretary of state at Beis.

Sunak and Grant Shapps, his new secretary at Beis, seem to be sticking with Ghani as science minister but also giving some of the responsibilities to Freeman, her predecessor in the role who quit back in July.

At the time of writing, Beis was yet to confirm Ghani’s and Freeman’s job titles and exact remits.

Ghani’s responsibilities so far have included:

  • Science and research (domestic and international)
  • Horizon Europe membership
  • Innovation strategy and science superpower
  • Critical minerals and critical mineral supply chains
  • Maritime and shipbuilding
  • Life sciences (including vaccine production)
  • Space strategy (excluding OneWeb)
  • Technology, strategy and security
  • Artificial intelligence (including the Office for AI)
  • Fusion
  • R&D People and Culture Strategy
  • Research approvals

They have also included supporting the secretary of state at Beis on:

  • Investment security
  • Investment pipeline and opportunities
  • UK Research and Innovation
  • Advanced Research and Invention Agency

Commenting on the UK seemingly now having two science ministers, Hetan Shah, chief executive of the British Academy, tweeted: “All the better to secure the R&D budget and gain association to Horizon Europe.”