You're on, Professor Brian Cox: George Osborne pledges to make Britain world leader in science

 

The Chancellor George Osborne said that he is up to the challenge of astronomer Brian Cox to make Britain the best place in the world to do science as he promised to make scientific innovation central to the country’s industrial strategy.

Making his first speech to the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences, Mr Osborne announced future Government support for eight areas of technology where Britain could lead the world.

One of the eight subjects, space and satellite technology, will receive an additional £60m a year – a total of £240m a year for the next five years – subject to negotiations with the European Space Agency, Mr Osborne announced.

Another area, synthetic biology which aims to design, engineer or replicate biological systems for industrial use, for instance by creating new forms of microbes that can eat industrial waste, will receive a research boost of £20m, he said.

However, the Chancellor refused to be drawn on whether he agrees with Professor Cox who has argued for a doubling of the £4.6bn science budget by using the money that the Government will raise from the auction of the 4G mobile phone spectrum to spend on scientific research.

“We don’t know how much we will get from the sale. It looks like the auction is on for next year, and we will then make the decision on how to spend the money,” Mr Osborne said.

The Campaign for Science and Engineering, which has organised a petition in support of reinvesting the 4G spectrum money in science, said that the Chancellor is saying the right things but this needs to be reflected in his future decisions.

“The forthcoming auction of the 4G spectrum will be a good test. That £4bn-ish revenues are a return on past investment in science and technology, and should be reinvested,” said Imran Khan, the director of the campaign.

In addition to Professor Cox, the 4G petition has been signed by the Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, a former president of the Royal Society, and Nobel scientist Professor Andrei Geim – both of whom were praised by Mr Osborne.

In his speech to the Royal Society, Mr Osborne said that he recognises the economic benefits of scientific excellence which is one of the reasons why the Government, with advice from the scientific community, has earmarked eight future technologies where the UK could be world-leading.

The list includes regenerative medicine, agricultural science, energy storage, advanced materials and robots. Britain already excels in all of these areas but with extra direction and support from Government, the country could outperform other countries, Mr Osborne said.

“It is not the government who creates the scientific innovation, or translates into growth. But we can back those who do. And as a government and as a scientific community we need to be willing to identify Britain’s strengths and reinforce them,” Mr Osborne said.

Sir Paul Nurse, the current President of the Royal Society and a Nobel Laureate, said that he was delighted that the Chancellor appeared to recognise the role of science in driving a dynamic economy.

“What is really important is that the Government and the Treasury are coming publicly to state that science is becoming more central to the Treasury’s thinking,” Sir Paul said.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
peopleThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
Sport
football
News
politics
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
Queen Elizabeth II sends the first royal tweet under her own name to declare the opening of the new Information Age Galleries at the Science Museum, South Kensington, London
media... and the BBC was there to document one of the worst reactions
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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker