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Delivering a UK science and technology strategy – inquiry launched

10 February 2022

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee is conducting an inquiry into the Government’s plans to deliver a UK science and technology strategy.


The Government wants to make the UK a “science and technology superpower”. It committed to increase research and development funding to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, including £22bn of public money by 2026/7. It has recently established the National Science and Technology Council as a cabinet subcommittee and the Office of Science and Technology Strategy. The Council has identified four areas for UK science and technology to prioritise: health and life sciences; a sustainable environment; the digital and data-driven economy; and defence, security and space. The Government is also reviewing various aspects of the science and technology system, from the Sir Paul Nurse Review into the UK’s research and innovation landscape to the Sir David Grant Review of the operation of UKRI. Establishing these bodies, identifying four priorities and conducting these reviews, demonstrates an attempt by Government to take a strategic approach to science and technology. But there are uncertainties about what such a strategy will mean in practice, how it will be implemented and whether the UK’s research and innovation system can deliver on the Government’s ambitions.

The Committee will explore questions including:

  1. What would it mean for the UK to be a “science superpower?”
  2. Are the right structures in place in Government to implement a science and technology strategy?
  3. Does the introduction of a science and technology strategy challenge the Haldane principle, that researchers, not politicians, should determine which scientific projects to pursue, and UKRI’s commitment to fund outstanding research?
  4. Is the UK realising the potential of its research investment?
  5. How should state funding for research and development be allocated between different organisations, who should make that decision and by what criteria?
  6. What more should be done to encourage private-sector investment in research and development in the UK?
  7. How well does the UK collaborate on research with international partners and what can it learn from other countries?

A full list of questions can be found in the call for evidence (see link above).


The Committee invites written contributions to its inquiry by Friday 25 March 2022.

Further information