Budget 2014: Chancellor promises multimillion-pound cash injection for British science to boost links between academia and the tech industry
Steve Connor is the Science Editor of The Independent and i. He has won many awards for his journalism, including five-times winner of the prestigious British science writers’ award; the David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union; four times highly commended as specialist journalist of the year in the UK Press Awards; UK health journalist of the year and a special merit award of the European School of Oncology for his investigations into the tobacco industry. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Oxford and has a special interest in genetics and medical science, human evolution and origins, climate change and the environment.
Wednesday 19 March 2014
The Government is hoping to strengthen the bridges between academic science and high-tech business by investing in industry-training centres for science PhDs and by spending more money on institutes to commercialise stem cell technology, graphene and “big data” research.
George Osborne announced that £106 million will be spent over five years in 20 new centres for doctoral training, to strengthen Britain’s science, maths and engineering capabilities. It will help to train about 750 post-doctoral students to prepare them for the demands of industry.
A new Alan Turing Institute is also to be built, costing £42 million over five years, to specialise in the analysis and application of "big data". The location of the institute, named after a British code-breaker in the Second World War, has yet to be decided.
The commercial exploitation of large databases, such as those held by the public sector, is expected to benefit the British economy by £261 billion and create 58,000 jobs before 2017, the Government said.
Read more: The Independent's Budget coverage in full
“The centre will conduct first class research in an environment that brings together theory and practical application,” it said.
Additional funding has also been found for the UK’s Catapult Network, designed to help scientific research become commercially relevant. Mr Osborne said that an extra £55 million over five years will go towards a Cell Therapy Manufacturing Centre to exploit developments on stem cell science, and another £19 million will be spent over the same period on graphene, the carbon-based material discovered by scientists at Manchester University.
“Cell therapies offer a potential revolution in healthcare. The UK has a leading research position in cell therapy research, but has limited manufacturing capability,” the government said.
“Equally, the UK has a strong position in the fundamental science of graphene with an increasing focus on exploring the potential applications through the scaling-up of manufacturing processes,” it added.
Firms using the new cell therapy centre are estimated to generate £1.2 billion by 2020, and 80 per cent of this will be in exports, said Keith Thompson, the chief executive of Cell Therapy Catapult.
“The decision to build the cell therapy manufacturing centre is a recognition of the quality and growth potential of the UK cell therapy industry,” Mr Thompson said.
Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society said: “Investment in our best scientists and scientific research is an investment in the UK's future and now that we are seeing signs of economic recovery it is the time to provide even greater support for our science.”
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Yorkshire man to win £10,000 off a £1 bet placed six years ago if Dan Jarvis becomes Labour Party leader
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 4 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 5 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
Children take eight Isis captives to be beheaded in latest propaganda video
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
£14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a Sales Ca...
£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers unique pers...
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...