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Cuts to scientific research would be “paradoxical”

23 March 2021

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee publishes a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, expressing concerns about potential cuts and reductions facing the UK's science budget.

In a year which has demonstrated the fundamental importance of research and innovation, the Committee raises three urgent funding issues, and outlines the challenges facing the research and innovation community:

  • It has been suggested that the funding for the UK's participation in Horizon Europe, expected to be around £2bn per year, might, this financial year, be taken from the BEIS science budget, rather than allocated separately, as was normal practice prior to the UK's exit from the EU. This would reduce UKRI's science and research funding by almost a quarter;
  • BEIS's ODA (Official Development Assistance) allocation to UKRI has been reduced significantly for 2021–22, with the result that research programmes both in the UK and overseas will face termination; and
  • No significant support has been provided for medical research charities during the pandemic, despite a fall in fundraising income of 41%.

The letter urges the Prime Minister to turn his personal attention to addressing the issues outlined.

Chair's comment

Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, said:

"As the past year has demonstrated like no other, we owe so much to science. In the midst of a global pandemic, it would be paradoxical if science funding were cut. The Prime Minister must now turn his personal attention to resolving issues relating to science funding in the days ahead."

Further information

Image: Crown copyright