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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 14:43 GMT
Brown confirms science framework
Artist impression of carbon molecules (SPL)
The government says it remains committed to UK science
The UK's public science spending in 2010 will rise to 6.3bn, Chancellor Gordon Brown confirmed in his Budget.

The figure is in line with the yearly increases set out in his 10-year framework for science and innovation investment announced three years ago.

Committing to this level of spending would "provide long-term certainty for the research community", Mr Brown told the House of Commons.

Science currently gets 5bn through the education and trade departments.

The announcement will give cheer to the research community which has been angered by a recent claw-back of 98m in funding to cover cost overruns at the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry).

Dr Peter Cotgreave, the director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), said the affirmation of the 10-year strategy indicated Mr Brown must have been annoyed by the DTI action.

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"However, it's a shame the specific cuts themselves will not be immediately reversed," he added.

The 6.3bn figure for 2010/11 includes the combined science spend of the DTI (3.97bn) and the Department for Education and Skills (1.92bn). As a comparison, the current DTI science spend for 2007/8 is 3.4bn.

To keep to the framework trajectory, spending must rise yearly by 2.5%-2.7% in real terms.

The government wants the UK to reach an R&D investment target of 2.5% of GDP by 2010; but to achieve this, industry will have to play its part.

Mr Brown said his Budget contained several initiatives which should act as incentives towards innovation investment.

10-YEAR SCIENCE PLAN (2004)
Among these was an announcement to put a further 100m into the Technology Programme, which is designed to support clever ideas in the industrial sector and help turn them into market-winning products and services.

Companies can bid for some of this money. The largest slice - 40m - is for advanced manufacturing projects, in areas such as aerospace, vehicles and energy.

John Morton, the chief executive of the Engineering and Technology Board, broadly welcomed Mr Brown's Budget.

"We welcome the increase in public spending on science to 6.3bn, but to be effective government must ensure it delivers 'long-term certainty for the research community' as this is essential to underpinning a knowledge economy."


SEE ALSO
Scientists lament raid on research
05 Mar 07 |  Science/Nature

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