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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Scientists welcome Brown research boost
microscope
The cash boost has delighted leading scientists
Extra money for research in the UK should prove a "significant boost", say leading scientists.


I'm delighted the government has recognised the problem of salaries in public sector science

Baroness Greenfield, The Royal Institution
The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, came up with a 1.25bn bonus over the next three years in his latest review of government spending announced on Monday.

The changes should accelerate the growth of resources for the state science budget by between 7% and 10% per year over that period.

Among other things, an extra 400m is to be spent on science and engineering research.

Salary problem

The Director of the campaign group Save British Science, Dr Peter Cotgreave, said: "There is substantial new money, and, importantly, much of it is aimed at solving some of the long-term problems suffered by the science research base."

By the end of the three-year period, post-doctoral researchers should be earning 4,000 a year more than now.

It means the average PhD student would earn 13,000 a year.

Baroness Greenfield, director of the Royal Institution, said: "I'm delighted the government has recognised the problem of salaries in public sector science, especially when the commercial biotech world is presenting such an attractive alternative."

Charity money

The UK's research councils are also set to benefit from the extra money.

Professor Sir George Radda, chief executive of the Medical Research Council, said: "The UK is leading the world in many aspects of research and the increased science spend will enable us to maintain and enhance that position."

The cash injection into Britain's research base will also be boosted by initiatives totalling 280m from the Wellcome Trust charity, which has announced extra funding to complement the monies coming from the government.

The Wellcome schemes include a 25m contribution towards a national centre to improve science teaching.

Awards totalling 90m will also go to selected universities and Wellcome-funded researchers.

The programme also includes 30 million for scientific equipment, and a 95m award to the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, which is helping to work out what our genes mean.

The UK's science ministry - the Office of Science and Technology - has a total spend for the current year (2002-3) in the region of 2bn.

The government's plans for future spending are published on 15 July

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