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UK on track for science superpower status, says Institute of Physics

25 November 2020

Responding to the publication of the one-year spending review, IOP chief executive Professor Paul Hardaker comments on the government’s commitment to invest £14.6bn over 2021 and 2022 into research and development.  

Institute of Physics (IOP) chief executive, Professor Paul Hardaker, comments: “Science has led the world through the Covid-19 crisis, and we commend the government’s decision to invest in our discovery, innovation and skills base as it drafts plans for the UK’s economic recovery.

“Even while the government is focused on tackling the short-term economic impacts of the pandemic, this commitment of £14.6bn in research and development (R&D) over the next fiscal year is a strong recognition of the role science – including physics – will play in the levelling-up agenda and improving livelihoods and prosperity over the long term.

“UK physics is already world class and this new investment in physics-based R&D will drive through new innovations for UK PLC that can jump-start the post-Covid recovery.

“IOP therefore looks forward to working with the government to advise on how it can unlock the full economic potential of physics, and ensure the UK remains on track to meet the levels of funding in R&D which the government set out pre-Covid as necessary for the UK to remain competitive.

“Covid-19 presents a major challenge to all economies around the world, and the UK’s challenge is compounded by the immediate prospect of an uncertain future outside the EU.

“In the event of no-deal Brexit, the absence of European funding, which has played such an important role in UK science and innovation, will mean that many physics and material science institutions and businesses across the UK face a cliff-edge on 1 January.

“The IOP will continue to work with government in finding a route to bridge any funding gap in a way that helps maintain the growth in the UK’s high-tech economy.”