Supporting research; not just for scientists and engineers

However powerfully scientists and engineers make their arguments for the importance of funding research and development, the case is made all the stronger by having outside interests make the same points. CaSE has compiled the opinions of noted and influential sources, below.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London:

We face two serious challenges – the first is an immigration cap that is currently keeping out academic talent, and the second is of course is cuts in scientific funding. That risks throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development):

“Governments must continue to invest in future sources of growth, such as education, infrastructure and research. Cutting back public investment in support for innovation may provide short-term fiscal relief, but will damage the foundations of long-term growth.”

Trades Union Congress:

“Many thousands of trade unionists work in science – in government laboratories, in industry and in the teaching of science in schools and universities. They are helping to build an economy and society that is confident in its use of science. This will be essential as Britain rebalances its economy towards high value, high skill industries in the future.”

The Institute of Fiscal Studies:

“Cuts in spending on science are likely to have important long-term consequences … the UK would become a less desirable place for firms to conduct research”

Lord Waldegrave, former Conservative Science Minister and Chief Secretary to Treasury:

“Investment in science cannot be turned on and odd on a political whim – we must have long-term investment. If we cut science now, we will seriously damage our economic prospects.”

National Farmers Union:

“Farmers are being asked to be more productive, while using fewer resources, reducing agriculture’s impact on the environment and coping with climate change. Investment in research and development is absolutely critial in finding solutions to these challenges and ensuring we can feed a growing population.”

Prof Jonathan Haskell, economist at Imperial College Business School:

“If support for research councils was cut by £1bn, GDP would fall by around £10bn”

David Cairncross, Senior Policy Adviser at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI):

“Publicly-funded investment in both research and development has a multiplier effect, making the UK a more attractive location for businesses to invest.”

Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust:

“It sends the pharmaceutical community and the medical charity community an extremely bad signal if government cuts this area of funding.”

Barack Obama, President of the United States:

“At such a difficult moment, there are those who say we cannot afford to invest in science, that support for research is somehow a luxury at moments defined by necessities. I fundamentally disagree. Science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, our environment, and our quality of life than it has ever been before.”

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany:

“During my term as Federal Chancellor, the Federal Government has repeatedly declared that the prosperity of a country such as Germany, with its scarce mineral resources, must be sought through investment in research, education and science, and this to a disproportionate degree.”

Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France:

“Science is, I am well aware, a fragile enterprise and scientists must be defended against obscurantism, fanaticism, wilful ignorance and contempt for the truth. The economic downturn should not prompt us to postpone investment in science, but rather to bring it forward and consolidate it.”

Dr Manmohan Singh, President of India:

“If India has to emerge as a knowledge power in the 21st century, then it can only be through a strong capability in science and technology.”

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