Science and the Chancellor’s Spending Round 2015-2016


George Gideon Oliver Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury of the United Kingdom

On the 26th of July the Chancellor George Osborne announced in his spending review for 2015-2016 that public funding of science would remain flat at about £4.6bn per year. This figure has been held flat since 2011.

Scientific discovery is first and foremost an expression of the relentless human search to know more about our world, but it’s also an enormous strength for a modern economy,

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer

The science minister said the following;

This settlement reflects the vital contribution that science, innovation and higher education make to the UK economy. Increasing capital funding for science and universities will underpin our ambitious industrial strategy, ensure our brightest minds can commercialise their ideas and support the knowledge that drives growth.

The science minister David Willetts

At a glance

  • Day-to-day science spend to remain at £4.6bn
  • Capital investment to rise from £0.6bn to £1.1bn
  • Capital increase to rise with inflation to 2020-21
  • Additional £185m for Technology Strategy Board
  • £100m/yr available to partner with private industry
  • £100m/yr to support innovative UK businesses

Some responses

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.

Professor Sir Peter Knight, President IOP

You can read the full response from the Institute of Physics by following the link below.

In recent years science has suffered, as maintaining investment means a real terms cut due to inflation, but in the context of cuts elsewhere, science has been relatively protected Today’s announcement should be seen as a foundation for a long term strategy of increased investment. At present our economic competitors are outspending us in science but are not outperforming us.

Prof. Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society

You can read the full response from the Royal Society by following the link below.

UK science spending to remain ‘flat’, BBC NEWS

Response to Spending Round 2015-16
, The Institute of Physics

Chancellor champions science The Royal Society

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