IOP backs select committee’s call for planned investment in research

10 November 2015

The UK needs a long-term roadmap for increasing public and private R&D investment, the IOP’s chief executive, Professor Paul Hardaker, said following the release of a select committee report that warns of the risks in underfunding science.

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The report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Commitee, published on 9 November, says that the UK has fallen behind its competitors in total R&D investment and argues that this will “put UK competitiveness, productivity and high-value jobs at risk if it is not reversed”. It calls for a roadmap for increasing public and private R&D investment to 3% of GDP.

The report also calls for an urgent review of capital allocations and a better system for integrating capital and resource spending, noting: “We are deeply concerned to hear of underutilised facilities and a crisis in funding for mid-size equipment and core infrastructure.”

Its further recommendations include maintaining the dual support system for funding research, ring-fencing the budget of Innovate UK, keeping the system for innovation grants and consolidating the current catapults for innovation before creating new ones.

Responding to the report, Hardaker said: “Investment in science has been shown to be one of the essential ingredients for economic growth in the UK. The jobs, technologies and knowledge that research generates will be essential for the UK to prosper in the future.

“There is no guarantee, however, that the UK science base will remain world-leading. This committee report reinforces the evidence base that the strength of the UK’s science requires a long-term roadmap for increasing public and private R&D investment in the UK.”