In September of 2010, a grassroots group of concerned scientists and science supporters – Science is Vital – sprang into being and joined forces with CaSE to campaign to stave off threats to the research budget. With the UK’s excellent science and engineering reputation already running on less funding compared to many of our competitors, rumours of cuts in the neighbourhood of 20% or more meant the stakes were high. Our message was simple: healthy science and innovation is a vital component of a strong economy.
Author Archives: Jennifer Rohn, Science is Vital
“Campaigners welcome government support for research, but insist more must be done”
The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) welcomes the announcement in today’s Budget of the expansion of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) – something we called for in our 4Growth campaign – and an expansion of the R&D tax credit scheme.
However, a new analysis published yesterday by CaSE shows that the shortfall in research capital, which stood at nearly £1.7bn following the 2010 Spending Review had now been reduced to just over £300m. Today’s Budget leaves this shortfall unchanged.
New analysis by CaSE shows that the £1.7bn shortfall in research capital the Research Base Budget faced following the 2010 Spending Review (SR10) has been reduced to just over £330m following a string of additional commitments.
CaSE’s paper (Public Funding of UK Science and Engineering – March 2013 update) shows that additional commitments to research capital now total over £1350m.
Today’s speech by the Universities and Science Minister allocates just over £460m of the £600m allocated to science in the Autumn Statement to the ‘eight great technologies’ the Chancellor outlined in his speech at the Royal Society last year. Read More
Chi Onwurah MP has moved from the BIS team to join the Cabinet Office team where she will be leading on cyber security, social entrepreneurship, civil contingency, open government and transparency.
Speech by Lord Heseltine to the Campaign for Science and Engineering, Science Museum IMAX Theatre, 27th November 2012. Sponsored by Airbus and EADS
Thank you for inviting me and it is a pleasure to be here. Read More
It’s good news for the future of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). It was feared at the beginning of the month, as part of a savings programme being introduced across the House of Commons, that the office was facing a 17% cut in its budget by 2014/15.
In response to the news of a potential budget cuts CaSE organised a letter, signed by leading figures from the science and engineering policy community, warning that potential budget cuts to POST threaten the quality of scientific advice in Westminster.
Whitehall departments have cut their research and development (R&D) budgets disproportionately, a new CaSE investigation has found – despite suggestions that such spending would be protected.
The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) welcomes another year of good news for science and maths A-levels. All of the main science and maths subjects are now in the top 10, with increases in both actual student numbers and in the ‘market share’ of overall A-level entries held by these subjects.
Yesterday’s announcement that plans to reform the House of Lords were being “paused” didn’t come as a surprise. The blocking of the time tabling motion necessary to deliver the Bill meant that huge amounts of Parliamentary time could have been spent on it, something the Coalition was keen to avoid.
The Government today announced the appointment of Sir Mark Walport as the new Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA). Sir Mark is currently the Director of the Wellcome Trust.
He will take up the position on 1 April 2013 replacing the current GCSA, Professor Sir John Beddington, who has served in the post since January 2008, and who CaSE held good relations with. Professor Beddington gave the 2009 CaSE Annual Distinguished Lecture on ‘Science in Government: Challenges for the 21st Century’.
The Campaign for Science and Engineering has reacted with bemusement at new Government plans to shift focus away from the scientific method in science lessons.
With promises from all three of the major political parties, and the subsequent Coalition Government, House of Lords reform is firmly on the agenda. This is an important and rare opportunity so it’s been disappointing to see the debate quickly descend into a political bun fight.
With reform on the political agenda now is the time for the science and engineering community to ask not only it feels the role of a reformed House should be, but also if the current representation and use of expertise could be improved.
The role of expertise in the House of Lords will be addressed in a report from CaSE, due to be published at the end of the month. As part of this work CaSE held a meeting to discuss the proposed reforms with Lord Willis (member of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee), James Wilsdon (Professor of Science and Democracy at SPRU, University of Sussex) and Baroness Finlay (clinical academic at the Cardiff University and the Velindre Cancer Centre) on the panel.
Yesterday HEFCE announced an allocation of £5.3 billion to universities and colleges in England for 2012-13, plus additional ring-fenced allocations of £80 million and tuition fees loans (via BIS) of £3.6 billion – a total of £9.5 billion. This is an increase of £200 million on the 2011-12 allocation of £9.3 billion.
The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) has welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of £100m new investment into science and engineering research in UK universities, along with other measures to improve commercialisation of such research, but warned that the Government must be more ambitious to achieve its goal of rebalancing the economy.
CaSE Director Imran Khan said:
Following the launch of the 2012 Budget, which contained some good news for science, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts has said:
“Industry and universities have a vital role to play in collaborating to achieve sustained growth in our economy. We know from experience that targeted funding can be successful in attracting significant business investment to our university research base. As part of our drive in bringing together the business, charity and university sectors, this new £100 million investment could bring in upwards of £200 million additional private funding to help stimulate innovation and secure our high-tech future.”
Last Tuesday saw CaSE team up with the British Library to host the latest in their TalkScience events.
Joined by three experts in the interactions between politics and science, our director Imran Khan and the audience discussed how we can help take the people, ideas, and ways of thinking of science “from the lab bench to the front bench”
It’s been a busy week for science policy in Wales. It started on Monday with the launch of ‘Science for Wales – A strategic agenda for science and innovation in Wales’. The strategy pulls no punches, calling for a ‘sustained and committed effort by many more of our academics’ in securing a larger share of UK Research Council funding and increasing levels of collaboration.
Specific goals include:
- Increase the Welsh share of UK Research Council funding from 3.3% in 2009/10 to 5%.
- For the proportion of research achieving 3* and 4* quality and impact levels in Wales’ universities to reach the highest UK level in the new Research Excellence Framework
We may be barely into 2012 but it seems that BIS were busy over the Christmas break. At Policy Exchange this morning, David Willetts delivered a speech on ‘Our hi-tech future’ which also included the launch of new Research Council impact reports. Coverage of the speech in the morning’s media on the BBC website and a interview on BBC Radio 4 had focused on an idea for ‘privately funded science universities’. However, while Higher Education Institutions are central to the plan, the speech went much further that this, with the intention to ‘set the Government’s goal that we should be the best place in the world to do science’.