Response to Spending Round 2015-16

26 June 2013

The Institute of Physics (IOP) has responded to the Chancellor’s Spending Round announced today, Wednesday 26 June, for the year 2015-16.

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Professor Sir Peter Knight, President of IOP, said, “We’re delighted to hear of the £1.1bn increase in capital funding available for science.  This is excellent news for the whole science community and we look forward to hearing how the investment will be used to meet the needs of our world-leading research teams when greater detail is given.  

“The announcement that the current science budget will be maintained at £4.6 billion is a welcome recognition of the importance of science as an engine for future growth, but it needs to be noted that inflation has already substantially eroded the value of funding for science in the UK, by 2-3% per annum since 2010’s flat cash settlement.

“We hope that the subsequent settlement between research councils is able to take account of the needs of different research communities and provide our scientists with the resources they need to maintain their world-leading position.

"The additional £185m for the Technology Strategy Board is also very encouraging.  This investment will promote innovation, bringing academics and businesses together around the opportunities that science creates.  

“On education, significant headway has been made in the last few years on the biggest problem facing science education in England – the shortage of specialist physics teachers.

“Tens of thousands of students each year are deprived of their entitlement to a proper physics education because there are too few inspirational physics teachers.  

“Over the past few years, through projects like the Stimulating Physics Network and IOP Teacher Training Scholarships – both funded by the Department for Education and managed by the Institute – we have plugged that gap and started to see the number of trainee physics teachers increase.  

“The permanent solution, however, is going to take at least a decade to deliver.  We hope the Government has the long-term vision to continue investment in these successful projects.”