Research investment welcome, but we need to aim higher

“Additional commitments reduce shortfall in research capital, but we need to aim higher”

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.

Key findings

  • Additional commitments to research capital announced since SR10 have reduced the shortfall facing the Research Base Budget from £1665m to £311m
  • Innovation Capital commitments – which fall outside the Research Base Budget – now total £332m
  • Inflation is expected to erode the Research Base Budget by £660m over the course of the spending review period

CaSE Acting Director Beck Smith commented:

“The Government has made good progress in addressing the shortfall in research capital following the 2010 Spending Review.  It’s been encouraging to see both the Chancellor and the Prime Minister take a personal interest in British science and engineering.

However, when it comes making the UK the best place in the world to do science, it’s going to take more than just getting us back to square one in terms of research capital. Inflation is also going to take its toll and our analysis shows that it will erode the Research Base Budget by £660m (12%) over the course of the spending review period.

The Government must continue its trend of additional commitments, with a view to developing a long-term and sustained funding strategy, to ensure we make the best use of our excellent research base and are still able to compete with those countries who have been increasing their research budgets.

Tomorrow’s Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review in June are both important opportunities to make sure achieving the goal of becoming a high-tech, high-skills economy is where we’re headed. ”

Contact Beck Smith at the Campaign for Science and Engineering for further details; 020 7679 4995 / 07968 806 847

Notes to editors:

1. The Campaign for Science and Engineering is the UK’s leading independent advocate for the science and engineering sectors. Find out more at http://sciencecampaign.org.uk/

2. CaSE uses the term Research Base Budget to encompass both the Labour and Coalition Government’s definition of the Science Budget.

3. The full report which lists all the additional commitments in both research capital and innovation capital can be found here: Public Funding of UK Science and Engineering – March 2013 update

4. The full calculations for the £1665m cumulative shortfall can be found in our previous report ‘Public funding of UK science and engineering: Putting Government rhetoric to the test’: http://sciencecampaign.org.uk/?p=7144

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