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 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.

However, CaSE analysis shows that a £1bn real-terms shortfall in investment in the UK research base has accumulated over the course of this Parliament. Even taking into account the capital investment of £1.1bn a year in real terms, this shortfall will be over £2.3 bn by 2020 if current government spending policy continues.

CaSE Acting Director, Naomi Weir, said:

“For future economic success we can’t continue to rely on the UK’s historic scientific success, great though it may be. If the government wants sustainable growth it must reverse the squeeze on British science and engineering and instead increase investment in the UK research base.”

Research commissioned by CaSE shows that government investment in science and engineering boosts the economy; stimulates private sector investment, raising productivity, and creating more high-value jobs.

CaSE calls on the government to set an ambitious upward trajectory for public investment in science and engineering so that the UK can reap the benefits of a thriving, world-leading research base.

The resource ‘Science Budget’ has been eroded by  £1 bn in real-terms since 2010 and  this is set to increase to almost £3.2 billion by 2020 if the flat-cash ringfence policy is continued by the next government.

CaSE Acting Director, Naomi Weir, said:

“Major investment in scientific infrastructure is very welcome and necessary, but to be most effective it must go hand-in-hand with funding for the scientists conducting the research and their project costs. It may not make for great headlines in the short-term, but ensuring that there is sufficient funding for the ideas and people that make British science great will be essential for our future scientific, economic, and national success.”

CaSE calls on the government to make the most of its long-term commitment to capital investment in science by matching its resource commitments to capital so that our world class facilities can be used to their full capacity.

Unpicking the detail of the budget – what’s new and what’s not

Today’s budget includes some very welcome announcements of new money for science and innovation, totalling over £240m. It also contains new details on how previously announced, but unallocated, funds will be spent.

New money

  • £40m for demonstrator programmes, business incubator space and a research hub to develop applications for Internet of Things (Innovate UK)
  • £100m for R&D into Intelligent Mobility – driverless car technology (Innovate UK)
  • £11m for tech incubators in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield (Innovate UK)
  • £11.8 million in a new Centre for Agricultural Informatics and Sustainability Metrics in Harpenden, Hertfordshire (Industrial Strategy spend)
  • £20m to Health North to promote innovation through analysis of data (Department of Health)
  • £60m new Energy Research Accelerator (part Innovate UK, part Research Councils spend – details tbc)

New details on old money

  • Up to £30m to the Francis Crick Institute from the sale of MRC assets (depending on the sale value)
  • £10m on digital currency technology (from existing EPSRC budget)

The Chancellor also outlined how £538m of previously announced capital would be spent. The below will come of the £900m capital that remained unallocated after the results of the capital consultation were announced at the end of 2014.

  • £138m for UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC), subject to a satisfactory business case and the provision of substantial co-funding. It will have hubs in London, and further centres initially in Birmingham, Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton.
  • £400m to 2020-21 for the next round of competition-based scientific infrastructure funding (the next round of RPIF)

The Chancellor also announced the government’s intention to introduce income-contingent loans for PG research students. This will now be openly consulted on alongside the planned consultation on opening up loans for PG taught students. Questions will include how the PGR loans could interface best with existing funding for research – including the principle of funding excellent research, working in partnership with industry, charities and other partners, and how they can make the UK offer for PG researchers internationally competitive.

 

Posted in Highlights, Press releases | Also tagged , , | Comments closed

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).

Key points:

  • A £1 billion real-terms shortfall in investment in the UK research base has accumulated over the course of this Parliament.
  • This shortfall will be over £2.3 billion by the 2020 general election if current government spending policy continues.
  • The resource ‘Science Budget’ has accumulated a £1 billion real-terms shortfall over the course of  this Parliament and this is set to increase to over £3.1 billion by 2020 if the flat-cash ringfence policy is continued by the next government.
  • Research capital investment has been unstable over the course of this Parliament but has not resulted in a significant shortfall overall. Due to the current government’s £1.1 billion per year investment plans, accumulative capital investment is predicted to be £800 million higher over the period of 2010/11 to 2019/20 than if investment only rose with inflation.

A £1 billion shortfall in investment has accumulated over this Parliament

The total research base budget, which includes resource and capital investment, has increased in cash terms from £5.5 billion in 2010/11 to a planned £5.9 billion in 2015/16. This represents an in-line with inflation increase overall (Figure 1). However, the annual funding shortfalls resulting from the 2010 flat-cash settlement for the resource ‘Science Budget’ have accumulated to a £1 billion loss to the UK research base over the lifetime of this Parliament.

Total investment dropped in 2012/13 and then gradually increased driven by ad hoc capital investments. However, these later investments have not been enough to recoup the money lost from the earlier drop in funding. The analysis shows that an above-inflation increase in investment in the next Parliament will be necessary to make up for money lost to the research base.

The research community is on track to meet the target of £428 million in efficiency savings to be achieved between 2010 and 2015, set by the Wakeham report. The shortfall revealed in this analysis has therefore not been absorbed through efficiency savings. University UK members have raised concerns that the long-term sustainability of research could be brought into question should the Wakeham recommendations be rolled forward into future years with similar expectations of savings.

Increased investment is needed to reverse the shortfall

In the 2013 Spending Review, the government announced that it would increase science capital investment to £1.1 billion in 2015/16, and maintain this in line with inflation each year up to 2020/21. This was reaffirmed in the Science and Innovation Strategy published in December 2014. However, this does not commit the next government, which could change this spending plan. None of the political parties have committed to increasing the resource ‘Science Budget’ from 2016/17 onwards (Note: The Liberal Democrats have said that they will keep the resource ‘Science Budget’ ringfence and increase it in real terms once the deficit is eliminated). If the current flat-cash ringfence is maintained over the next Parliament the accumulated shortfall for the research base will continue to increase (Figure 2).

There will be shortfalls in each year of the next Parliament, based on current government policy of capital investment rising with inflation from a baseline of £1.1 billion in 2015/16 and assuming a continued flat-cash ringfence. The overall loss to the UK research base will reach £2.3 billion by the end of the next Parliament. This acceleration is due to the acceleration in inflation currently forecast for the end of this decade.

There is a growing disparity between resource and capital investment

The resource ‘Science Budget’, distributed mainly by the research councils and higher education funding councils, covers the costs of conducting research, including researchers’ salaries. The capital budget supports the construction of new facilities and the purchasing of large pieces of equipment. In science and engineering, resource and capital is entwined, each equally requiring the other. Resource and capital budgets have been treated very differently by this government and it is unclear how the next government will treat them.

The capital budget was cut by 40% following the 2010 Spending Review. This resulted in a drop in investment in 2012/13 but ad hoc capital spending announcements since then have in fact meant that the 40% cash-terms cut never materialised (Figure 3, capital). Overall, capital investment has almost increased in line with inflation; by the end of 2015/16 the accumulative capital investment shortfall will be £41 million. However, from 2016/17 onwards, capital investment will be above what it would be if 2010/11 spending was maintained in line with inflation. Under current government policy and inflation forecasts, total capital investment is predicted to be £800 million higher than if investment only rose with inflation from 2010/11 to 2019/20.

The primary concern with capital investment has not been the impact of the 40% cut that was feared but instead the instability and uncertainty caused by cuts and the ad hoc announcements of capital. This has led to difficulties in planning for new research infrastructure or upgrading existing facilities, and created uncertainty for long-term research collaborations, including between academia and industry.

The resource ‘Science Budget’ has only had a £130 million cash increase over this Parliament (the Newton Fund introduced in 2014/15 contributed significantly to this) and its value has therefore been eroded by inflation. By the end of 2015/16 there is expected to be a resource investment accumulative shortfall of £1 billion (Figure 3, resource).

If the current flat-cash ringfence is maintained and a new baseline is taken from 2015/16 (to account for the slight cash increase the current government has provided) the shortfall will rise to over £3.1 billion by the 2020 general election. This acceleration is due to the acceleration in inflation currently forecast for the end of this decade.

Figure 3: Investment 2010/11 to 2019/20 (cash-terms)

 

If resource and capital budgets are not tied, the disparity between the two will grow, resulting in inefficient use of public funds.

Government investment in business research and innovation has increased

The government also invests in business-led research and innovation. This is distributed by Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board) and is not included in the research base analysis above.

Government investment through Innovate UK has increased from £277 million in 2010/11 to an expected £536 million in 2014/15 (Figure 4).

(Note: As reported in Technology Strategy Board Annual Reports and Accounts, listed as “technology grants”, except figures for 2014/15, which have not been reported yet but are anticipated to be £536 million in the Technology Strategy Board Delivery Plan for 2014/15).

This represents an 80% real-terms increase and has largely been driven by investment in catapult centres, which were introduced in 2011.

Notes

  • Research base investment data used in this analysis was obtained from government allocations documents (here and here) and additional allocations, accounted for in annual Budget and Autumn Statement documents obtained from the gov.uk website.
  • The data presented here does not include other areas of government spending, such as departmental R&D spending, and R&D tax relief.
  • The latest Office for National Statistics figures (2012) show a downward trend in government R&D spending since 2009 (Note: these do not account for tax relief), also analysed by CaSE, with reductions in expenditure in constant prices, driven by the Research Councils, Higher Education Funding Councils, and the Ministry of Defence. These figures are expected to be updated in June 2015.
Posted in Highlights, Reports, Briefings and Consultations | Also tagged , | Comments closed

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 »

Posted in Highlights, Press releases | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Highlights, Press releases | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Highlights, Press releases | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in CaSE, Highlights | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in CaSE, Highlights | Also tagged | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Blog, Highlights, Uncategorized | Also tagged | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Highlights, Press releases, Reports, Briefings and Consultations | Tagged | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in CaSE, Highlights, Press releases, Reports, Briefings and Consultations | Also tagged , | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Highlights, Press releases | Also tagged , , | Comments closed

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 »

Posted in Highlights | Also tagged | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Highlights, Press releases | Also tagged | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in CaSE, Highlights | Tagged | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in CaSE, Highlights | Tagged | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Reports, Briefings and Consultations | Tagged | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Blog, Highlights, Uncategorized | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Watch the CaSE Cross-Party Debate

Last Wednesday saw CaSE bring together the science spokespeople from the three main Westminster parties to debate the future direction of science and engineering in the UK. Read More »

Posted in CaSE, Highlights | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

EU Scientific Advisor gives Annual Lecture

(L-R) CaSE Director Dr Sarah Main, CaSE Chair Prof. Hugh Griffiths, EU Chief Scientific Advisor Prof. Anne Glover

Last Tuesday saw the CaSE 2013 Annual Lecture, given by the Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission, Professor Anne Glover CBE.

The event was kindly hosted by the Zoological Society of London, with over 200 delegates in attendance from across industry, academia, learned societies and the general public. Read More »

Posted in CaSE, Highlights | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

CaSE responds to the 2013 Spending Review

UK scientific competitiveness at risk’

In response to today’s announcement, which sees maintenance of the science budget at £4.6bn, CaSE has produced a briefing paper on the 2013 Spending Review.

Commenting on the announcement, CaSE Director Dr Sarah Main said:

“The signs had been good – the Chancellor had said that science was a ‘personal priority’  and that he was ‘up for the challenge of making the UK the best place in the world to do science’.  But instead the research community is left exposed to competition from the global scientific premier league of nations.” Read More »

Posted in Highlights, Press releases | Also tagged | Leave a comment




  • Read our blog Read our blog    Read our blog

  • RSS Latest CaSE Tweets

  • Archives

  • Meta