News / Slider / November 9, 2015

UK must increase science funding to keep up with competitors

The Science & Technology Select Committee, which Nicola chairs, has published its first report, into the UK Science Budget.

The report issues a stark warning that the UK is falling behind its competitors in R&D investment and the Government will be putting competitiveness, productivity and jobs at risk if it does not set out a clear roadmap to increase science funding in the upcoming Spending Review. 

The UK is a science superpower. With less than one per cent of the world’s population the UK produces over 15% of its scientific research. We have four of the top six universities and our academics are cited in 10% of all patent applications. The Committee has found, however, that science spending has now fallen below the OECD average and is well below key competitors like Germany and the US. The UK risks losing its status as a world leader in research if the Treasury does not make a long term commitment to increase science funding in the Spending Review, the report says.

The MPs are calling on the Government to produce a long term ‘roadmap’ for increasing public and private sector science R&D investment in the UK to 3% of GDP — the EU 15 Target. Since 2010 there has been a flat-cash settlement for resource spending in the Science Budget that has seen the real world value fall by around 6%. This has left the UK spending 1.7% of GDP on science and research, below the OECD average of 2.4% and behind the 2.8% and 2.9% spent by the US and Germany.

Nicola says: Spending on science and innovation is not a state subsidy, it is a strategic investment that creates jobs, increases productivity and attracts inward investment. Committing the UK to a 3% GDP target for science spending would send a crucial signal about the long term stability and sustainability of our science and innovation ecosystem, supercharging private sector R&D investment from industry, charities and overseas investors alike.

Read the full report here: Science Budget

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