Short term funding of scientific research will push Britain further behind world leaders, shadow business secretary John Denham has warned.
Short term funding of scientific research will push Britain further behind world leaders, shadow business secretary John Denham has warned. Speaking at the Campaign for Science and Engineering’s annual conference, Denham urged the government to commit to a 10-year funding framework.
“I think it’s disappointing… that what is being done in France and Germany is not being replicated in the UK. I’m talking about France and Germany substantially increasing their investment in this whole area, while at the same time that same increase in investment is not happening in the UK…
“If Europe stands still, we will see the US disappear into the distance just as we feel emerging nations breathing down our necks.”
The UK faces a problem in both publicly funded research and development…
and in private sector investment as well:
( Country abbreviations can be found here)
As Left Foot Forward reported in October, the freezing of the science budget as laid out in the Comprehensive Spending Review could lead to a loss of 8.9 per cent public sector research and development in real terms. In recent months, scientific research has taken multiple blows, with the changes to university funding and job losses in the pharmacutical industry. GlaxoSmithKline is expected to make a number of savings around its research centres in the UK, and Pfizer UK is to close its site in Kent.
Denham used the speech to argue that without government commitment to the sector, international competitors will overtake Britain – decreasing our competitiveness and declining growth from the economy.
“Other countries, including those in the fast growing economies, are not standing still. This is not simply us falling behind our competitors. In science, the ability to collaborate internationally is the lynch-pin of the ability to be competitive nationally.”
With the budget looming and the economy suffering stagnant growth, the government simply cannot afford to lose the business that the competitive science industry has provided the UK with for so long.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.