An update from our partner Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE)

09 Nov 2021 - By:

An update from our partner Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE)


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CaSE has welcomed the announcements on science, research and innovation set out in the Chancellor's Spending Review, but cautioned that more work needs to be done.

Science and Engineering at the heart of UK Spending Review

This year’s UK Spending Review set out a budget for the next three financial years making it the first multi-year budgetary event since 2015. During his speech, the Chancellor placed research and innovation at the heart of his plan for growth. He stated that creating a high skill and innovative economy is the ‘only route’ to securing UK prosperity, and outlined how science, research and innovation is central to this endeavour. With R&D now commanding its own section within the Treasury documents, this new focus is a positive result for UK Science and Engineering. 

The UK Government have now committed to investing £20 billion in R&D by 2024/25, a substantial rice of 34% increase from 2021/22. However, this settlement falls disappointingly short of previous ambition to reach £22 bilion by 2024/25, with this target now being pushed back to 2026/27.

 

CaSE’s work to influence the UK Government

Before the Spending Review, CaSE consulted their members and partners (including the SEB) on the best way to ensure the UK’s status in Science and Engineering. From this consultation, they published a five-point roadmap towards making the UK a 'science superpower’ and was used to inform the Comprehensive Spending Review on October 27th. They also entered into discussions with HM Treasury, UKRI and other senior parts of government to feed this messaging into the Spending Review process.

 It was through their close working relationship with members, government and funders, that it become apparent the UK Government were considering dropping previous commitments on R&D investment, and that concerted action was needed to keep them on the right track.

In the weeks leading up to the Spending Review, CaSE increased pressure on the Government by publishing a new analysis that warned the UK could lose up to £11 billion worth of private R&D investment if the government delays its timetable for investing in science. This was quickly followed by further analysis showing that while other nations have moved forward in R&D spending for the past 20 years, the UK has begun to be left behind. This means the UK could still find itself behind other G7 countries unless its renews its effort on R&D investment. These messages were highlighted in both the Financial Times and BBC News.

As well as publishing and promoting their own analysis, CaSE also worked closely with other leaders in the sector including Cancer Research UK, The Royal Society and The Francis Crick Institute, to write an open letter to the Chancellor urging the Government to commit to public R&D investment targets at the review.


Moving forwards

Since it’s publication, CaSE has rated the Spending Review against their five point roadmap  concluding that there are plenty of positives although more work is needed to maximise the UK’s scientific potential. The UK Government has committed to investing 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027, yet CaSE’s updated projection model shows that the UK’s research intensity would reach 2.33% of GDP in 2027 and as such are calling on the Government to re-double its efforts to maintain business confidence and investment to ensure this goal becomes a reality.

 

What to know more?

CaSE’s Annual Lecture 2021 “Placing science and innovation at the heart of the U.S. and UK’s future” will be taking place on Monday 29th November at 4pm. This will be given by the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr Sethuraman Panchanathan, and you can register for the event here.

 

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