Measures to make UK best place in world to do science

Posted On: 28th January 2016

Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, has set out his vision to ensure the UK remains a global leader in science and engineering. Government Opportunities

Delivering the annual Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) lecture, he highlighted the importance of the UK’s international research partnerships and the strength of ties with European research partners.

In the speech, Mr Johnson announced new funding to put the UK at the forefront of international research and inspire the next generation of world-class scientists. These include doubling the Newton Fund for international research from its current £75m per year to £150m per year by 2021, meaning a total investment of £735m from 2014 to 2021. The fund will enable UK scientists to partner with academics and researchers in developing countries and emerging markets to support their economic development and the UK’s research base.

It also includes a new government partnership with the Wellcome Trust to deliver the £30m Inspiring Science Capital Fund (with £20m from government and £10m from the Wellcome Trust). Science centres and attractions across the UK will be able to bid into the fund to refresh and refurbish exhibitions and infrastructure to inspire young people from all backgrounds to engage with science and consider a STEM career.

In his speech, Jo Johnson highlighted the strength of the UK’s research partnerships with Europe and the rest of the world. He said that around half of all UK research publications now involve international collaborations, and European countries provide some of the UK’s closest research ties.

Mr Johnson said:

“Our global scientific impact far exceeds our size as a nation, and our scientists and engineers stand tall on the world’s stage.

“We want Britain to be the best place in Europe to innovate, and by protecting the science budget we’re giving the clearest signal that science and innovation sit at the very heart of this government’s economic plan.

“Extending the Newton Fund provides a unique opportunity for UK academics to work with partners around the world to address some of the biggest challenges of our time.

 “Because of the excellence of our research base, it is no surprise that the UK is one of the most successful players in EU research programmes.

“The UK received €7bn under the last Framework Programme (2007 to 2013). That made the UK one of the largest beneficiaries of EU research funding. In the current funding round, Horizon 2020, the UK has secured 15.4% of funds, behind only Germany on 16.5%, and with the second largest number of participating organisations.”

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