Expert comment – £1.6 billion of R&D science funding "surrendered" to Treasury

Professor Liam Smeeth, Director of LSHTM, comments on the news that the UK Government appears to have reassigned £1.6 billion of funding allocated for science and innovation.
Liam Smeeth comments on the withdrawal of £1.6 billion of R&D funding

According to an analysis of the Central Government Supply Estimates 2022-23 by the Campaign for Science and Engineering the UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has returned £1.6 billion of funds to the Treasury, which had previously been allocated for Horizon Europe association or domestic alternatives.

Professor Liam Smeeth, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said:

“The UK has a well-deserved reputation as a world leading powerhouse in health research, recently evidenced by the role we played in the Covid response globally. The benefits are huge: in health improvement, economic investment and global prestige. 

“The lack of agreement to allow the UK to continue to play a full role in the European Union Horizon funding programme severely threatens our success. Achieving full association with EU funding programmes must remain the primary aim but will take considerable political skill and determination.

“Until today, the UK government did – as a constructive interim measure – appear to be committed to filling any shortfalls in science funding that occurred because of Brexit. This appears to no longer be the case and we face major cuts in investment in science and innovation as well as continued uncertainty over EU funding.

“The UK’s position as a global scientific leader is severely threatened. Once our position is lost, rebuilding the excellence of our science and education base in the face of fierce international competition may be an impossible task.”

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