Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci, reflects on the science funding landscape

Image of a Banner

Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci, reflects on the science funding landscape and what it means for the vision of the UK as a science superpower.

On 16 March 2021, the UK Government launched their Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy: Global Britain in a Competitive Age. At the centre of this vision is the ambition for the UK to become a scientific superpower. The research community stands ready to turn that vision into reality, but it requires the Government to follow up their ambitions with a sustained commitment to real investment.

Recently, we celebrated the long-awaited and very welcome news for UK research and development (R&D) that the UK will associate to Horizon Europe – the EU’s flagship research funding programme – and an uplift for the science budget for 2021/22.

However, this positive news has been overshadowed by the very concerning possibility of using existing budgets to pay for Horizon Europe association, which would leave the overall pot for UK R&D reduced by a reported £1billion. The UK already invests a lower proportion of GDP in R&D than other leading scientific nations, so if this becomes reality, the Government’s talk of the UK becoming a science superpower will begin to ring hollow.

Read more about the funding landscape on this link.

First published: 21 May 2021