UK science freeze

November 1, 2010

The Royal Society of Chemistry has welcomed the British Government's decision to prioritise science in the Spending Review.

The Royal Society of Chemistry has welcomed the British Government's decision to prioritise science in the Spending Review.

In a statement RSC chief executive Richard Pike said: "This is the best scenario in the current challenging circumstances. But we still risk falling behind internationally in science in this economic environment. When times allow, we need to increase funding considerably to stay competitive. Although a budgetary freeze has been announced, in reality this is a cut over time, when inflation is taken into account.

Pike identified some of the particular concerns: “Annual funding for science research includes a component called Full Economic Costing (FEC), which is intended to cover the purchase of equipment, including replacement. But universities are so pressed for funds that this allocation is already being used to support teaching. Our concern would be that although science funding has been frozen, the real term effect of this over four years will mean universities won't be able to afford to replace equipment and fewer research projects will be ultimately funded.”

However, overall Pike seems pleased with the outcome: "We and other science organisations asked the government ahead of the review to value science and they have heeded this message. We appreciate that science has fared better than many areas, which shows the Government understands just how important science is to our country's immediate and long-term prosperity.”