UK science sector falls behind rest of EU with lower research and development funding

Sarah Spickernell
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The campaigners say the UK could lose its leading position in science (Source: CASE)
Most countries in the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are overtaking the UK in the fields of science and engineering, according to a report by Campaign for Science and Engineering (Case).
The pressure group, which advocates science and engineering in the UK, warns that while many countries are increasing the amount they spend on research and development, the UK is cutting back. This, they say, will cause the UK to lose its position as a leader in science unless cutbacks are reversed.
According to their analysis, government spend on R&D as a percentage of GDP was lower in the Britain over the last year than both the average for the European Union and the OECD.

(Source: CASE)

As a result, Case, which represents 100 science bodies and businesses, has called for political parties to say they will restore investment to match that of other, comparable nations.
Sarah Main, director of the group, told the BBC that while all major political parties had voiced their intention to place science and engineering at the heart of plans for future growth, Case wanted to ensure that they would follow through on these promises.
"When a senior politician makes a statement about the UK being a leading scientific nation, we want to be able to make sure all their other policies act to that end," she said.
"If you look at what other countries are doing they are investing heavily. You can look at averages in the EU or across the OECD and see that they are all going upward.
"Unfortunately, the UK's is going downwards from a fairly low point already, so we are 21st on a league table of countries in terms of research spending, behind the Czech Republic, Belgium and Luxembourg - and that is not where you want to be if you want to be a global leader."

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