Research and Funding

CaSE is advocates for safeguarding and expanding the financial support for the UK’s science and engineering base. We report on Government spending announcements and analyse how such boosts or cuts could affect the science and engineering community and our national research output. Ensuring adequate funding for science and engineering is a huge part of our work, and stimulates strong engagement with both Parliament and the media, as this section reveals.

Here you will find blogs, reports, briefings and consultations on Research and Funding. To see only CaSE reports, briefings and consultations, use the button above.

‘CaSE sets out the evidence for championing science and engineering’

Today CaSE has published a short briefing summarising the strong evidence for the value of public investment in science and engineering. The evidence shows it supports a strong economy, creates high-value jobs, and helps us all live healthier and happier lives.

Over the next five years there is enormous opportunity for science and engineering to drive economic prosperity and public wellbeing as a central feature of the Government’s long-term economic plan. Read More »

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The Northern Powerhouse now has a Minister, or two!

2015 General Election - CabinetJames Wharton has been appointed as the Minister responsible for the Northern Powerhouse, the Government’s initiative to strengthen the economy in the North of England.

The role is based in the Department for Communities and Local Government headed by former Science, Universities, and Cities Minister, Greg Clark. Science is at the centre of the Northern Powerhouse strategy, which was devised and championed by George Osborne and much touted ahead of the General Election. It’s therefore surprising to see the initiative sited solely in DCLG, despite considerable policy overlap with BIS responsibilities. However, regional development is a strong policy interest for Greg and he will be familiar with the important role science, engineering and higher education play in local and regional economies from his time as Science Minister.

This is the first ministerial role for James Wharton but one that suits his strong interest in regional development around his constituency in the North East. The appointment might also quell criticisms that the Northern Powerhouse is too Manchester-focussed.

Following his election as MP for Stockton South in 2010, James gave his maiden speech during a debate on the higher skilled economy. He called for the existing North East region skills base to be built upon in order to achieve a stronger economy. However, he has not remarked specifically on the role of science in the economy when speaking in House of Commons debates.

The Conservative’s manifesto said the party would back scientific and technical strengths as part of the Northern Powerhouse initiative by creating new institutions such as the Royce Institute for Advanced Materials in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield, and the National Centre for Ageing Science and Innovation in Newcastle. These both received capital investments in the most recent Autumn Statement.

s216_Jim-ONeill-960The economist Jim O’Neill has also just been appointed as Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, responsible for driving forward city devolution and the Northern Powerhouse. He has long been an advocate for the concept of combining the strengths of the major Northern cities but might be best known to the science community for his recent Chairmanship of the Antimicrobial Resistance Review. He has also been given a peerage and will sit on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords.

Science and engineering play a critical role in growing the economy and creating well-paid jobs. But how best to make investments to achieve those aims on a regional level is an ongoing and frought question, one that the research community will be working with the Government to address over the coming years (see our response to the Nurse Review for some of our thoughts).

We’ll be contacting James about his new role and look forward to working with him to ensure that science and engineering are able to make a full contribution to the Northern Powerhouse.

You can read more about the other ministerial appointments important to science and engineering in CaSE’s new briefing, click here to download.

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Latest ONS figures bring good and bad news for government investment in R&D

CaSE’s analysis shows the proportion of government spending invested in UK R&D has been decreasing since 2003, putting us below international averages and competitor nations. In 2003 1.37% of total government spending went on R&D. In 2013 this figure had dropped to 1.18%, or £8.4 billion.

We’ve analysed new figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD). The stats show that GERD rose 5% in real-terms in 2013, reaching an all-time high of £28.9 billion. However, this equals 1.67% of GDP, a slight increase from 2012 but still below the European average of 2% and far lower than in the past. The government’s contribution to the UK’s total R&D spend was 0.49% of GDP. Read More »

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CaSE responds to 2015 Budget

In today’s budget the Chancellor stated that “future economic success depends on future scientific success”.

A successful long-term economic plan must therefore have a long-term plan for science at its core. He said the government was “choosing the future…choosing jobs… choosing the whole nation”. To do that the Chancellor, and the next government, must choose to increase investment in science and engineering over the long-term. Read More »

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CaSE 2015 Budget Briefing

New CaSE analysis shows that the UK research base has lost over £1 billion of investment over the course of this Parliament due to the government’s flat-cash ringfence policy.

It also reveals that if current government policy is maintained, overall funding for research will continue to be eroded by inflation despite recent capital spending commitments, with the overall shortfall reaching £2.3 billion by 2020.

CaSE has analysed investment since 2010 in the UK research base, composed of the resource ‘Science Budget’ and capital budget, over the term of this Parliament, comparing it to what would have been spent if 2010 budgets had been maintained in line with inflation. The analysis looks at overall research base investment and how the resource and capital budgets have individually affected investment in science and engineering. It also looks at planned investment in the next Parliament (2015/16 to 2019/20). Read More »

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CaSE kicks off the election year with a debate and a call for action

The sold-out CaSE cross-party debate, kindly hosted by the Royal Society tonight, brings together the science spokespeople from the three main Westminster parties to discuss the future direction of science and engineering in the UK. Read More »

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CaSE responds to Science and Innovation Strategy

CaSE finds much to welcome in the Government’s science and innovation strategy, but important questions remain unanswered. Read More »

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How to make the UK the ‘best place to do science’


Election 2015 – Policy Briefings

Ahead of the 2015 Election, the Campaign for Science and Engineering has worked with its members and collaborators to develop a toolkit that government can use to realise its ambition to make the UK a leading scientific nation.

Every major political party has put science and engineering at the heart of their plans for a prosperous innovative Britain, driving high skills jobs and growth. Read More »

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CaSE responds to Autumn Statement 2014

Does government back the Chancellor’s ‘personal priority’ of science?

In this Autumn Statement, science was again singled out as the Chancellor’s ‘personal priority’. We saw indications of intent on how the government will spend the £1.1bn pa capital committed to science for the next five years in announcements of new facilities and research centres.

With many of these located in the north of England, we see how science is being used as a tool in the government’s drive to ‘rebalance the economy’. Announcements on skills and the fiscal landscape for research are welcome, but these need to be part of a coherent cross-government strategy to work. Read More »

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Investing in science across the UK

CaSE has welcomed today’s news in The Times (£) that the Chancellor George Osborne will be announcing a new £200 million science institute to be built in Manchester.

Update: For further details see CaSE’s response to the 2014 Autumn Statement.

Read More »

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SET stats – a timely R&D health-check

In all of the excitement of a major reshuffle, it would have been easy to miss that the ONS published the Government Expenditure on Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) for 2012-13 this week. Read More »

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New evidence: science investment boosts growth

A new independent report for CaSE shows that investing public money in science and engineering is good for the economy. The Economic Significance of the UK Science Base examines the economic impact of public investment in the UK science base.

The report looks in detail at the relationship between public funding of science and engineering and three levels of economic activity: total factor productivity growth in industries; ability of universities to attract external income; and interaction between individual researchers and the wider economy.  Read More »

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CaSE responds to 2014 Budget

“New investments welcome but gear shift needed to win global race”

Below is CaSE’s response to the 2014 Budget. You can also read our our  2014 Budget background paper.

Read More »

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CaSE welcomes increase in science ringfence

CaSE is delighted to welcome the Government’s increase in the ringfenced science budget from £4,576m to £4,691m for 2015-16, an increase of £115m.

The Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, and the Chancellor, George Osborne, have both emphasised that science is a priority for the Government and this announcement demonstrates their commitment.   Read More »

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Government R&D hit by disproportionate cuts, again

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have clearly indicated their commitment to the UK’s world-leading science sector and its ability to drive economic recovery, so we are dismayed to uncover evidence of widespread disinvestment in science across government.

The Government’s expenditure on research and development (R&D) across all government departments is an important element of public funding of science.  It is used to commission the UK science and engineering sector to provide a range of information, including scientific monitoring, surveillance, policy evaluation and new research.

In 2012, CaSE analysis of budget changes between 2009/10 and 2010/11 found evidence that many departments under financial pressure reduced R&D more than other spending. This year, analysis by CaSE of figures for 2010/11 and 2011/12, reported in the Financial Times, shows that Whitehall’s R&D expenditure has been slashed by £856 million since 2009-10, with many departments seeing year on year cuts to R&D.

You can read a full PDF of the analysis here.

Read More »

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CaSE responds to the 2013 Autumn Statement

“Science supported at the highest levels – will it be sustained across government?”

Contact Dr Sarah Main at the Campaign for Science and Engineering for further details; 020 7679 4995/ 07791800858

You can also read CaSE’s full briefing on how science and engineering fared in the Autumn Statement here. Read More »

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CaSE Briefing – Autumn Statement 2013

This document sets out CaSE’s summary of announcements made today in the Autumn Statement that are relevant to science and engineering. They cover

  • Science and innovation
  • Education and skills
  • Infrastructure and capital
  • Departmental resource reduction

You can also read CaSE’s response to the Autumn Statement here.

Read More »

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CaSE responds to Lords report on infrastructure

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has today published its report on scientific infrastructure, warning that the UK’s large scale scientific resources are being compromised by a lack of long term strategic investment.

CaSE welcomes this timely and comprehensive review by the Committee. Scientific infrastructure, including large pieces of equipment such as the synchrotron, aeroplanes for environmental monitoring, and high performance computing for large data sets, are essential to keep the UK at the forefront of discovery. Read More »

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CaSE response to the Lords inquiry on Scientific Infrastructure

The following is CaSE’s full response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report on scientific infrastructure – submitted June 2013. You can read CaSE’s response to the Committee’s final response here.

What role should the Government play in ensuring that there is an effective long-term strategy for meeting future scientific infrastructure needs?

A long-term strategy for meeting future infrastructure needs must be underpinned by a scientific infrastructure roadmap and accompanied by a long-term funding commitment.  Such a roadmap will include the case for well-argued large facilities, in addition to the maintenance and upgrade of existing facilities and provision for international collaborations. Read More »

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CaSE cross-party debate summary

In October, CaSE brought together the science spokespeople from each of the main political parties to debate the future direction of science and engineering in the UK. The event, kindly hosted by the Royal Society and chaired by Pallab Ghosh, gave us the opportunity to hear from each party on issues ranging from the use of scientific advice in Government through to research funding and matters around diversity in science and engineering. Read More »

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