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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
books...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Application Developer / Software Developer

£21000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software development compa...

Recruitment Genius: Brand Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you wish to be part of an exciting journey ...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Anna Woodward: Reporting Analyst

£35,000: Anna Woodward: Are you excited about making an impact on a FTSE 250 b...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower