$1.86 billion boost for UK science and innovation

07/12/04

A one billion pound ($1.86bn) boost for science and innovation in the UK was unveiled today as the UK Government published its ten year investment framework for science and innovation.

The framework sets out the Government's ambition for public and private spending on research and development in the UK to rise to 2.5 per cent of GDP over the next decade, and provides annual real growth in public science funding of 5.8 per cent over the 2004 Spending Review period - with science spending one billion pounds higher in 2007-08 than in 2004-05.

The Government's vision is for many more skilled scientists and engineers in the economy delivering benefits to businesses, health and the public services. Essential to the strength of science and innovation in the UK is a world class and financially robust research base with growth in public and private investment.

The framework has been developed with stakeholders in the research base and the private sector, including The Wellcome Trust which expects to commit at least $2.8 billion (1.5bn) in the UK over the coming five years.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, said: "The UK needs a twenty-first century science base to compete in the twenty-first century global economy. Today's framework represents a long term commitment to investing in science and innovation to create a platform for future wealth creation, productivity growth and better public services.

Only by working with our business and research charity partners will we achieve our goal of R&D in the UK reaching 2.5 per cent of GDP. That's why I am delighted to be launching the framework alongside those, such as the Wellcome Trust, with whom we will be working to ensure a more sustainable future for UK science".

The UK Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Patricia Hewitt, said: "The transfer of knowledge from the science base to UK industry is vital to the future of innovative businesses in this country. We already have an excellent science base - today boosted by an additional $1.86bn (1bn) commitment. The Government must now work with universities, Regional Development Agencies and businesses to boost the transfer of knowledge to industry, bolstering the UK's position as a growing hub for global knowledge-intensive businesses."

The ten year investment framework for science and innovation can be found at HM Treasury website.

1 British pound = $1.8637 US dollar

Source: Eurekalert & others

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