Letter published in the Daily Telegraph, 11th March 2013. Accompanying report and press release.


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.

Signed,

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
Categories: Evidence, Names, Press

3 Responses to Letter in the Daily Telegraph

  1. Paul Reeve says:

    The Japanese ministry of trade has been quoted as saying that about 55% of the most successfully developed scientific discoveries have been made in Britain but the commercial benefit has gone overseas.The recent discovery of Graphene in Manchester is only too typical,only about 50 of the 5000 + patents belong in Britain.
    Why should taxpayers in Britain continue to fund this.The financial loss has been quoted at $150 billion a year.

  2. Colin Henshaw says:

    I am also concerned about the amount of coverage that science gets on radio and television. It should get at least as much coverage as sport, rather than the pitiful sound-bites it gets at the moment. This should go a long way to dispel the image that science and scientists are “nerdy.”

  3. Dr.Soli Contractor says:

    I am a retired biochemist of 85 years. My main concern over my entire working life was the inability of scientists to get their research and its importance through to the public. I found arrogance inhibited many scientists from letting their hair down. Get out there into the public domain as much as you can. The dividends will be enormous.

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