Government spending on science rises for first time since 2009

Clara Guibourg
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"Backing science isn't a niche interest" (Source: Getty)

The UK’s spending on science is up for the first time in four years, as new figures showed government expenditure on science, engineering and technology landing on £10.9bn.

Spending in these areas went up by nine per cent in 2013, new figures released by the Office for National Statistics today showed. Allowing for inflation, this still translates into a seven per cent hike, making it the first increase in spending since 2009.

This boost will cheer campaigners. The Campaign for Science and Engineering has been calling for increased science investment, with acting director Naomi Weir commenting:

Backing science isn’t backing a niche special interest area, but supporting a national asset that brings enormous public benefit across the economy and society.

Despite new figures showing a reversal of a downward trend, in constant prices spending is still down on 2002, when it hit £11.5bn.

So where is the money coming from?

The figures cover spending by government departments, research councils and higher education funding councils, but also UK contributions to EU research.

The biggest contributor by far is Research Councils UK, which accounted for about a third of the total spending into science, engineering and technology. Meanwhile, defence expenditure into these fields is down, from £2.1bn in 2002 to £1.5bn in 2013.

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