Following on from our letter 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 (below). 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.

[Updated to add: current government spend is about 0.6% of GDP; so we're asking for an increase of ~£2 billion.]


We, the undersigned, urge the Government to increase its direct contribution to research and development to at least 0.8% of GDP – the G8 average.

We are asking the Government to demonstrate its long-term commitment to funding science and engineering as part of an overall strategy of innovation and training to boost growth and enable the UK to meet the social and technological challenges of the 21st Century. Committing to this target, endorsed by some of the UK’s top scientists, will send a clear message to industry, potential investors and the brightest minds of the next generation that the UK will continue to be amongst the best places in the world to do research now and in the future.

In 2010, the core research budget set by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills was ring-fenced, but frozen in cash terms. However, cuts to capital expenditure and the R&D spend of other departments, combined with the effects of inflation, have significantly eroded the overall science budget, despite the introduction of substantial additional funds targeted to specific research areas.

We call on the Government to reverse this decline and, by setting an ambitious target to increase its R&D spending, to demonstrate to citizens and investors alike its vision that science is vital for the United Kingdom.

Increase Government R&D contribution to 0.8% GDP

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6,532 signatures

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Categories: Campaign

7 Responses to Petition: increase Governmental spend on R&D to 0.8% GDP

  1. Alison Moodie says:

    A colleague has just sent me your petition. I’ve looked at it but it seems to be light on hard facts. For example:
    – what is the current science R&D % spend?
    – what do other western European countires spend as a % GDP?
    – by what fraction are we asking the Govt to increase the budget?
    The letter is eloquent and I agree with the principle but I’m afraid I don’t feel I can sign up to something that’s so weakly argued.

  2. Alison Moodie says:

    Some of this information is provided if you click on a side bar: http://scienceisvital.org.uk/2013/03/11/show-me-the-numbers/. In my opinion it needs to be there in the letter.

  3. Hi Alison, thanks for your comment.

    Don’t worry, we have got the figures! In brief,

    • The current UK spend on public-funded research is 0.57% of GDP.
    • We’ve not got a figure ‘western Europe’ specifically; the eurozone average is 0.74% of GDP, whilst the EU-27 average is 0.69%. If you’d like to calculate it for a specific set of European countries, all the raw data are available in a spreadsheet created by the Scienceogram team.
    • Science is Vital is calling on the government to set a target for public funding of research of at least 0.8%, which is the G8 average.

    There’s more in-depth information in our ‘Show me the numbers’ blog post, including full details of the sources of the numbers.

    I hope that answers all your questions…please get in touch if you want to know any more.

  4. ian gibson says:

    Concentrate on job prospects for post grads and post docs

  5. Ella says:

    Ok, I signed, but I would rather sign a petition about this hosted on DirectGov.

  6. Keith williams says:

    The goverment dont now what they are doing

  7. Tim Bradshaw says:

    Research and development for what?

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