“Britain will continue to take the lead in pursuit of the fundamental scientific challenges of our time”
Today the Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) unveiled their Science and Innovation strategy. This sets out the Government’s priorities for investment and support up to to 2021. A total of £5.9billion capital is committed to support science and innovation from 2016-21, as announced by George Osborne in the Autumn Statement earlier this month.
“We are committing £5.9 billion capital to support UK scientific excellence out to 2021, including investing £3 billion to support world-class researchers and labs in universities and research institutes. This support to our scientific infrastructure means we will equal the best in the world.” – Greg Clark, Universities, Science and Cities Minister.
£3 billion will be invested to support individual research projects, laboratories and international subscriptions. Over half to this will be subject to competition in order to ‘ensure excellence is rewarded wherever it is found.’
£2.9 billion, labelled as a ‘grand challenges fund’ is promised to fund large scale investments in science. The first instalment of this will be several projects worth £800 million and £1 billion is also already committed to the new Polar Research Ship and Square Kilometre Array.
The document confirms an investment of £42 million for the Alan Turing Institute at the British Library in London. A further £900 million is allocated to ‘address the great mysteries and opportunities of our time, whether domestic, international, or in space’ through a process of international peer review. This also includes £30 million for XFEL, an international free electron laser project and £20 million for an Inspiring Science Capital Fund.
Up to £235 million will be spend on a Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials in Manchester. £95 million is to be invested in the European Space Agency Programmes.
BIS will also provide £61 million to the High Value Manufacturing Catapult centre and will spend £28 million creating a new National Formulation Centre. These investments come in recognition of the ‘vital role that commercialisation of science and new technologies play in our future growth’.
£67 million will be spent on new programmes to increase the quantity and quality of STEM teachers. Over the next Parliament, this will train up to 17,500 maths and physics teachers, by adding to the skills of 15,000 existing and recruiting 2,500 new specialist maths and physics teachers. The document also highlights the Government’s ambition for the majority of learners in England to study Mathematics until age 18 by 2020.
For higher education, the document highlights the new postgraduate loans for students under 30, also announced in the Autumn Statement. Find all the details of the income contingent loans here. In the workplace BIS will provide a dedicated platform for female STEM graduates return to jobs following career breaks.
Vince Cable, Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: “From cars to computers, ideas and ingenuity underpin British productivity and the UK is world-renowned for pushing boundaries in innovation. We need to maintain our competitive edge so this strategy sets out a long-term plan for expanding our innovation infrastructure, creating high value jobs and putting science and innovation at the heart of economic growth.”
“Science and innovation will play an important part in defining the UK’s place in the world in the 21st century. This strategy builds on the great strengths of British science and enterprise and will make sure the UK is the best place in the world to do science and grow an innovative business.”
Greg Clark, Universities, Science and Cities Minister, said: “The UK’s long and brilliant history of scientific discovery and breakthrough has continued to be deployed in recent weeks with British scientists having been central to the Rosetta Mission and helping to tackle Ebola in West Africa.”
Find the full report here.