Science: Boost for technology as extra £600m is pumped into research

Autumn Statement

An extra £600m to be spent on science over the next three years was widely welcomed by scientists as the Government began to flesh out how it intends to stimulate eight key fields of scientific research that it sees as critical to the British economy.

George Osborne delighted scientists with the announcement of the extra money for scientific facilities and infrastructure, bringing the total capital investment in science announced since the last comprehensive spending review to more than £1.5bn.

The new money addresses some of the concerns of scientists who argued that the ring-fenced annual science budget of £4.6bn did not cover the increasing costs of new facilities, buildings and equipment needed to carry out cutting-edge research.

 “George Osborne has said that his government is up to the challenge of making Britain the best place in the world to do science, and this does indeed seem to be the trajectory we are on,” said Professor Brian Cox, the particle physicist and TV presenter.

“Science and engineering are the route to future economic growth, and with the continuing support of government, I am convinced that the academic and research sectors, in collaboration with industry, will deliver,” Professor Cox said.

The extra money will be invested in some of the eight areas identified as critically important by the Chancellor in a speech to the Royal Society last month, including a national centre for new types of composite materials in Bristol as well as research into ways of handling huge volumes of computer-generated data.

David Willetts, the minister for universities and science said that the new money will help to drive economic growth, create jobs of the future and help Britain to get a lead in the global race towards new economies based on science and engineering.

“It will support high-tech areas where the UK’s research base and industry can gain a competitive advantage, like big data and energy-efficient computing, synthetic biology and advanced materials,” Mr Willetts said.

Sir Paul Nurse, the president of the Royal Society, said that scientific innovation is the key to sustainable economic growth and science is the raw material that fuels this innovation.

“The Chancellor clearly understands this and his ongoing commitment to investing in science, despite the difficult financial circumstances, is very welcome,” Sir Paul said.

“We have some way to go to match the public and private investment levels in research and development of some of our competitor economies but we have the advantage of already being truly world class in many areas of science,” he said.

The eight technologies are: energy-efficient computing, synthetic biology, regenerative medicine, agricultural science, energy storage, advanced materials, robotics and space technology.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'