Scientists hail £600m boost for research

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A £600m boost for science announced in the Autumn Statement will be used to develop cutting-edge technologies with the potential to create wealth.

Spread over three years, the extra cash will help pay for facilities and equipment in areas such as advanced materials, synthetic biology, big data computing and energy storage.

It is the biggest single new research spending commitment since the coalition Government came into power.

The announcement was warmly welcomed by Imran Khan, director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), who said: “We are really delighted with this new commitment – the total amount of new funding since 2010 has now reached almost £2bn.

“Osborne’s consistency shows that he understands the UK must invest in becoming a hi-tech nation. In the coming decades we won’t be able to compete internationally on natural resources or cheap labour.”

The boost to Research Council infrastructure is aimed at capital investment which is used to pay for facilities rather than running costs.

In the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review, annual funding for science and research was ring-fenced at £4.6bn. However, this did not cover capital expenditure, attracting criticism from the science community.

Since then the Government has poured an additional £1.515bn into the capital side of science.