Commons Science & Technology committee exploring the impact of the science budget

Posted on January 26, 2011 by

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The Commons Science & Technology committee made a call today for  information from us on the impact of the science and research budget allocations that were announced just before Christmas. As the budgets bed in and we start to work out what they are going to mean in practice, the committee want to hear where the big problems are likely to be, the pressure points etc, so that they can identify areas which might need further examination after Easter. So, if there are any big problems shaping up, this is our time to raise them.

Background

Following the spending review on 20 October 2010 (details on what this said about medical research here) on the 20 December, BIS announced the detailed budgets for each of the research councils from 2011/12 to 2014/15 (details here). Across the councils there have been heavy cuts to capital spending budgets; the Campaign for Science and Engineering estimates these will amount to a 35% cut compared with 2010-11 levels which has raised concerns for the impact this will have across science. A lot of scientific work needs investment in infrastructure.

Focusing on medical research, the Medical Research Council budget has been effectively frozen in real terms. There is a large reduction in their capital budget but this is largely due to them having an inflated capital budget this year as they invest in the new Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. However, the research councils don’t each operate in a vacuum, science is cross-disciplinary. Changes in spending across the other research councils are likely to impact on medical research.

What now?

All the details of the science & technology committee’s calls and how to respond are here. Making this call for information, chair of the committee Andrew Miller MP said:

“Following the Committee’s evidence session last week with Research Council chief executives, and our session with David Willetts in November, the Committee has decided to call for written submissions from the wider scientific community on the impact of the science and research budget allocations for 2011/12 to 2014/15.”

“Difficult funding and implementation decisions in many areas will now have to be made by the Government and key budget holders. As the dust settles over the coming months, it will begin to become clear where the key pressure points will be, and how decision will impact on the UK scientific and research community and our world-renowned science base.”

The committee want to hear from people by 27 April 2011.

Posted in: Policy