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.
Once you’re done here, don’t forget to take the survey if you haven’t already!