21 March 2013: Science is Vital launches its campaign to persuade the Government to increase funding for research at its next spending review on 26 June
Following on from our letter (see below) in the Daily Telegraph signed by fifty top UK scientists, calling for an increase in research and development spending to at least 0.8% of GDP, we are delighted to announce our accompanying Petition. We urge you to sign today. In the next few months, the Government will make key decisions about how to dispense funds for the next few years, and together we must remind them that science is vital for the UK.
21 March 2013: Science is Vital launches a new survey: “Legacy of the 2010 Cash Freeze”
We are trying to determine how the 2010 cash freeze has affected scientists, and science, in this country. If you are a UK researcher (or a researcher gone abroad in the past three years), we would be very grateful if you could take our survey, the results of which will be written up into a high-profile report aimed at Government.
For both these initiatives, we’d appreciate it if you could spread the word to colleagues, family and friends. Remember, you don’t have to be a scientist to think science is vital! The hashtag is #SiVpoint8
SIR – We urge the Government to demonstrate its long-term commitment to funding science and engineering as part of a strategy to boost growth and enable Britain to meet the social and technological challenges of the 21st century.
In 2010, the core research budget disbursed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) was ring-fenced. However, the overall science budget has since been eroded by cuts in capital expenditure by BIS and to research and development in other departments, combined with the depreciating effect of inflation.
The Government has introduced some specific targeted funds since the 2010 settlement. These are welcome, but they only slow the reduction of scientific activity in Britain, when our economic competitors are boosting their research spending.
The Government understands that public funding of science is crucial to growth, but that understanding needs to be translated into sustained investment. It is vital that the policy of managed decline be reversed.
We call on the Government to increase research and development spending to at least 0.8 per cent of GDP – the G8 average – to enable us to compete more effectively with the leading economies of the world.
|Dr Jennifer Rohn, Chair, Science is Vital||Professor Anne Dell, CBE FRS|
|Professor Sir Martin Evans, Nobel Laureate, FRS||Professor Dame Kay Davies, CBE FRS FMedSci FRCPath HonFRCP|
|Professor Sir Andre Geim, Nobel Laureate, KBE FRS||Professor Dame Athene Donald, DBE FRS|
|Professor Sir John Gurdon, Nobel Laureate, KBE FRS||Professor Eleanor Dodson, FRS|
|Professor Sir Tim Hunt, Nobel laureate, KBE FRS||Professor Jeff Errington, FRS FmedSci|
|Dr Paul Nurse, Nobel Laureate, KBE FRS||Professor Phil Evans, FRS|
|Professor Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Nobel laureate, KBE FRS, HonFRSC||Dr Matthew Freeman, FRS|
|Professor Sir John Walker, Nobel laureate, KBE FRS||Professor Chris Frith, FRS FMedSci FBA|
|Professor Stephen Hawking, CH CBE FRS FRSA||Professor Uta Frith, FRS FBA FMedSci|
|Professor Sir Roy Anderson, KBE FRS FMedSci||Professor Sir Timothy Gowers, FRS|
|Professor Jim Al-Khalili, OBE||Professor Peter Lawrence, FRS|
|Professor Alan Ashworth, FRS||Professor Xin Lu, FRCPath|
|Professor France Ashcroft, FRS||Professor Richard Morris, CBE FRS|
|Professor Alan Baddeley||Professor Mark Miodownik|
|Professor David Barford, FRS||Professor Dame Linda Partridge, DBE FRS|
|Professor Sir David Baulcombe, KBE FRS||Professor Laurence Pearl, FRS|
|Professor Colin Blakemore, FRS FmedSci HonFSB HonFRCP||Professor Jordan Raff|
|Professor Dorothy Bishop, FBA FMedSci||Professor Martin Raff, FRS FMedSci|
|Professor Sir John Burn, KBE FMedSci||Professor Martin Rees, OM FRS|
|Professor Jon Butterworth||Professor Trevor Robbins, FRS|
|Professor Iain Campbell, FRS||Professor Liz Robertson, FRS|
|Professor Nicky Clayton, FRS||Professor Dame Carol Robinson, DBE FRS|
|Professor John Collinge, CBE FRS FRCP||Professor Helen Saibil, FRS FMedSci|
|Professor David Colquhoun||Dr Simon Singh, OBE|
|Professor Brian Cox, OBE RSURF||Professor Geoffrey Smith, FRS FmedSci FSB|
|Professor Brian Spratt, CBE FRS FMedSci||Professor Dame Janet Thornton, DBE FRS|
|Professor David Stuart, FRS||Professor Gabriel Waksman, FRS FMedSci|
Investing in research enriches society and helps drive the economy. It led to our preeminent position in the 20th century, and will be vital in meeting the challenges of the 21st – whether they be in energy, medicine, infrastructure, computing, or simply humanity’s primal desire for discovery.
The UK has a proud history of excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We are world leaders in many fields of research, producing over 10% of global scientific output with only 1% of the global population, and despite spending less on science per capita than most of our competitors.
Our world-class research universities and institutes which attract excellence and investment from around the world have made us a global hub for science. Nations such as the United States, China, Germany, and France have all recognized the importance of investing in science especially in austere times – it could be catastrophic for the UK to do the exact opposite.