4 September 2015
John Innes Centre's submission to inquiry into the UK government's science budget
The John Innes Centre has submitted evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into the UK government’s science budget.
Commenting in advance of the second evidence session of the inquiry, Professor Dale Sanders, Director of the John Innes Centre said:
“The UK’s science budget has faced a slow reduction in real terms. This needs to change or we risk damaging our science base. Expenditure on research is an investment in the UK’s future - helping to increase productivity and stimulate economic growth. The John Innes Centre is a case in point. We provided a return to the UK economy of £12 for every £1 invested over ten years and the global economic impact of our wheat research alone stands at £8.7bn.”
The committee is considering:
- The extent to which the current ring-fence arrangements, and the separate arrangements for determining 'resource' and 'capital' allocations, have produced coherent UK science and research investment;
- The extent to which science and research expenditure in Government departments (outside the Science Budget) complements or competes with the Science Budget;
- The need for and rationale for any adjustment to the trajectory of future Government expenditure on science and research, and what would be gained from an increase (or lost from a reduction) compared with current expenditure levels;
- Whether the current distributions of the budget between particular types of expenditure and between different organisations is appropriate for future requirements, and achieves an appropriate balance between pure and applied research;
- What level of Government expenditure on science and research is needed
- to significantly drive the overall level of such expenditure in the economy, through synergies between government and private sector investment (including overseas investment); and
- to optimally balance its benefits against the opportunity cost of government expenditure foregone on other public services.
- Whether the Government's expenditures on aspects of science and research are consistent with other government policies, including the Industrial Strategies and the Eight Great Technologies and fiscal incentive policies for research investment;
- The extent to which any increase or reduction in Government expenditure on science and research will have an impact on the UK's relative position among competitor states.