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|