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:
“Today’s announcement is the latest in a string of pledges of extra cash for science and engineering, and shows that the Government does understand that we cannot have a rebalanced economy without investment in research.”
“I suspect the Government realises that the multi-billion pound, 50% cut made to research capital in 2010 simply isn’t sustainable. Despite difficult times they are trying to put it right, and it is not going unnoticed.”
“However, simply reversing cuts isn’t going to be a game-changer for the UK. We need to be far more ambitious if we’re serious about having a high-tech future. The Chancellor should re-invest the windfall from the auction of 4G mobile spectrum, due later this year, into science and engineering.”
“In his budget statement, the Chancellor noted that countries like China are powering ahead in the global economy, and lamented our export record in comparison to Germany’s. He must see it is no accident that both of these nations are seeing big increases in their research and education investment.”
Research by CaSE has shown that the research base will be £1.7 billion worse off in cash terms since the 2010 Spending Review. Whilst welcomed, the £385 million of additional funding and initiatives announced in 2011 still leaves a considerable shortfall. In 2012, Germany will boost federal research and education spending to £11.3 billion, an increase of 10 per cent from 2011. In China, £3.3 billion for basic research is expected in 2012, an increase of 26 per cent from 2011.
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 www.sciencecampaign.org.uk
2. The details of the Chancellor’s budget statement are here
3. CaSE’s research on the level of funding of UK science and engineering: http://www.sciencecampaign.org.uk/files/ScienceFundingSept2011.pdf
4. The additional funding of £385 million comprises the £195 million announced at the Conservative Party Conference, the £200 million announced in the Autumn Statement and £270 million announced in the Life Sciences Strategy (of which £90 million was new money, the rest was the allocation of existing funds).
5. Details of Germany’s boost for federal research and education are here
6. Details of China’s increase in funding for basic science are here