Chancellor's speech on science and technology

09 November 2012

Commenting on the Chancellor’s speech on Science, Technology and Growth, which launched the RCUK Strategic Framework for Capital Investment, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“We welcome the Chancellor’s recognition that research benefits not only our national wealth but also wider society, from improving the economy to improving social well-being, quality of life – and of course, the vital pursuit of knowledge. He is also right to acknowledge that continued capital investment is essential to maintaining the UK’s world-leading research reputation. 

“World-class research requires advanced technology and first-rate infrastructure, which does not come cheap. We now need to target limited funds where they will have most impact: in our major centres of world-class research and innovation. As the Chancellor said, ‘Let us identify what Britain is best at – and back it’.

“We are pleased that he is ‘up for the challenge… of making Britain the best place in the world to do science’; his pledge to ‘do more’ to back science and research in the UK is very welcome and timely.

“Our global competitors are pumping billions into research and leading Asian universities – especially in South Korea, Singapore and China – are rising fast. For the first time, UK investment in R&D as a percentage of GDP has fallen behind China’s.  The UK cannot afford to be outmanoeuvered by other countries that clearly recognise that investment in research and their leading universities is the key to growth.

“Without further action, our place as a global leader in higher education will become unsustainable. As Sir Paul Nurse reminded the Chancellor after his speech, ‘don't forget to match your words with money’.”

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