As the Government approaches the 2015 Spending Review, it is important that we argue the case for science spending to be, at the very least, maintained at its present levels. The investment of public money in research drives the investment of private R&D money in the UK. It is a pool of scientific, engineering and medical excellence that keeps multinational companies like GSK and innovative engineering firms such as Rolls-Royce in the UK, not a sense of national loyalty. At a time when many other developed nations are increasing their budgets for scientific research, we risk our pool becoming smaller. Read More
Author Archives: Professor Nigel Brown, Microbiology Society
The British Heart Foundation is the largest independent funder of cardiovascular research in the UK, funding around £100 million of new research each year. This research is helping us to understand why heart disease occurs, how to diagnose it more quickly and treat it more effectively. Read More
The 2015 Spending Review was always expected to be tough, as Government looks to find consolidation measures totalling £37 billion and reach a budget surplus by 2020. Recent events have, however, been unexpected – not least the stance of the House of Lords in delaying changes worth £4.4 billion to tax credits. But whether or not the outcome on 25 November matches our expectations, we must continue to be clear on our hopes. Our three asks for the Chancellor are aimed at achieving better quality of life for people with arthritis, alongside economic benefit. Read More
My guess is that bidding for a research grant is ultimately no different to submitting for any piece of work. Your prospective client needs to see you have the best people and ideas available and can deliver the right results at a reasonable price.
If you are bidding for a grant and want a foreign scientist next year, you may need to think again about the people or the price.
In a few weeks time we shall know the outcome of the Government’s spending review, and for most areas of the economy it won’t be pretty. Ever since financial crash of 2008, instigated by reckless lending by the banks, the overriding thrust of public policy has been to reduce and control the public sector deficit. Science and innovation have weathered the storm better than some areas so far, partly thanks to good work by successive science ministers, but there are no guarantees for the future. Read More
I am really excited to join CaSE and the EPC to work on this project. There is growing conversation around the potential impacts of the UK leaving the EU. For example, Universities UK have initiated a campaign, Universities for Europe, and the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee have launched an inquiry into the relationship between EU membership and UK science. It will be really interesting to help inform this debate by examining the data available on the impacts that EU funding has on the UK research community. Read More
I shall be taking up office as president of the Institute of Physics shortly after the organisation’s introduction of a new strategy – a realignment of our aims and our work to better reflect the modern world. So one of the main concerns during my time at the helm will be helping to drive that strategy through.
In particular, a personal priority will be to improve the take-up of physics among women, who historically are drastically under-represented in the UK – only a fifth of physics A-level students, for example, are girls. The IOP already does a lot of excellent work aimed at remedying this, and I’ll be looking at how we can boost those efforts further. Read More
I am delighted to be able to write a short piece for the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) on the importance of Science and Engineering for my Constituency of Thirsk and Malton.
One of the great myths about the Green Party is that it is opposed to technology. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is simply opposed to risky and dangerous technology and strongly in favour of investing in sustainable technology, useful new discoveries and pure research.
The UK has been leading the world in science and innovation for centuries – it is one of our proudest records and greatest assets. And as we face challenges like climate change and energy security, antibiotic resistance and a growing world population, science is also our biggest hope.
The UK has a world class reputation for excellence in science and innovation. We have some of the best scientists in the world working in the best institutions in the world. I studied Biology, Chemistry, Physics & Maths to A level & qualified in Medicine, so I fully understand the importance of science & scientific research. The advances in my own field of cancer have been incredible over the last 30 years & it is now likely that within a few years, we will move to a system of personalised treatment of all cancers, based on the genetic profile. But it’s not just cancer where improvements in prevention & treatment are needed. Arthritis, dementia, motor neurone disease, mental health & chronic disease management are all areas where further progress is needed to reduce long-term morbidity & reduce the need for expensive inpatient care. Investment in scientific research is therefore crucial, not just in medicine, but all areas of science & technology.
When I talk to people outside of Hastings & Rye they normally say to me; ‘Oh, arrow in the eye, tapestry, invasion by Normans.’ They’re far less likely to know about building components for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, high-powered lasers or high vacuum technology. Still less likely are people to mention that Hastings is the high tech hub of South-East England. Read More
The other Green Party candidates have contributed articles to www.sciencecampaign.org.uk around our policies, which are great. These left me thinking about the public view and understanding of science. It’s close to my heart, because I believe if public understanding of scientific issues were increased, support for the changes we need to make urgently towards living within the boundaries of one planet living would be increased too. Read More
Innovation and quality are the drivers of economic success, so the need for science and engineering is surely not open to question. A major problem for the UK is that we produce far too few engineers. According to the BBC we produce only around 23,000 engineering graduates a year. Meantime India produces eight times as many, and China twenty times. Read More
I have been involved in scientific activity for much of my working life. While I studied Geography at University I led, as a student, a successful expedition to the Band-i-Amir lakes in the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan to study limestone tufa deposition. This involved scientific measurements and led to a published booklet of findings.
Why science and engineering is important to the UK and how I would support this as a Member of Parliament
My name is Scott Nicholson and I am Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Perth and North Perthshire. When I am not knocking on doors and writing letters like this, I work as a Scientist. I graduated with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences. I went to work in the NHS as a Medical Laboratory Assistant, then Trainee Biomedical Scientist, Biomedical Scientist and then Specialist Biomedical Scientist, specialising in diagnostic medical microbiology. The NHS funded my MSc in Biomedical Sciences (Medical Microbiology) and I was able to start undertaking research on the hospital superbug Clostridium difficile, as a Research Technician at the University of Leeds. I felt I still had a lot more to contribute as a Scientist so moved to the University of the West of Scotland where I am currently a PhD student researching the role of proteinase activated receptor 2 on B cells in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
I’m the Head of Physics in a high performing school in the South East of England and so, of course, Science and Engineering are very important to me personally. The Physics Department I run is amongst the top performing departments in the school, and we regularly have 25-30% of all of the 6th form students here taking A level Physics – a very high proportion I’m sure you will agree. Last year 75% of our U6th Physicists left with an A* or A grade and many went on to study Physics, Engineering or other Science subjects at top British Universities. As a school, we are doing a very good job in educating the next generation of Scientists and Engineers, and this is something that all of the teaching staff are justifiably very proud of.
The UK has massive potential to embrace renewable energy (surrounded by sea as well as wind and sun). If there was the political will, we could be world leaders in these technologies. Sustainable building and renovation is another area we could focus on to be really useful. Unfortunately, however, this country seems to be enmeshed in a worn out political paradigm which says that the money markets and short term ‘growth’ are top dog. In other words, we have chosen the jolly (but uneven) path of the inveterate gambler rather than the thorny road of purposeful scientific advance. Perhaps this has something to do with our traditional lack of respect for academe. Our culture seems to be predominantly one of dependence on trading (‘a nation of shopkeepers’) rather than thoughtful inventive progress.
An economy that truly values science and engineering is the key to growing the number of skilled, secure and well-paid jobs that Britain desperately needs. After five years of the Tory-led Coalition government, the country is awash with poorly paid jobs in the service sector, with a record number only offering zero-hours contracts with little opportunity for training or progression.