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Policy and funding

Budget 21: IOP urges government to focus on skills to drive science innovation

3 March 2021

Today’s Budget will support the physics sector to help the UK meet its green targets – and young scientists can help.

Plans announced in today’s Budget will enable physics to play a vital role in the green industrial revolution, but the government must seek the skills of young people outside of traditional science hubs, the Institute of Physics (IOP) has said.

Commenting on the 2021 Budget, CEO of the IOP Professor Paul Hardaker said: “The IOP welcomes the government’s plans for an innovation-friendly Future Fund, a national infrastructure bank, and a detailed consultation on the competitiveness of R&D tax credits as ways to accelerate progress against the grand challenges facing the UK and of financing the green industrial revolution.

“These developments will not only help to unlock the potential of UK physics, an industry which will play a transformative role in developing the technologies and creating the jobs needed to accomplish these goals, but will help ensure that science plays as important a role in the UK’s recovery and future growth as it has during the pandemic.

“The UK will need a highly skilled, diverse and educated workforce to deliver the projects and innovations necessary to power this new revolution. While the announcement of a new visa system for science superstars is positive, the government must not overlook the potential of communities in UK regions outside traditional scientific hubs.

“Young people in all corners of the UK are passionate about solving the challenges of improving healthcare, a growing population, decarbonising economies, and ensuring water, food and energy supplies. The IOP therefore looks forward to working alongside the government and industry to create new opportunities for them, particularly young people from disadvantaged communities.”