The British Academy joins calls for the next Prime Minister to hold a ‘bold vision for UK R&D’

26 Jun 2019

The British Academy has joined businesses, charities, universities and other academic bodies in calling on the two Conservative Party leadership contenders to reaffirm their commitment to spending 2.4% of national GDP on research and development by 2027.

Alongside organisations including the CBI,  CRUK, the Russell Group, UUK and the other national academies, the British Academy signed a joint statement asking the next leader of the Conservative Party to ‘commit to ensuring the UK remains a world leader in research and innovation’.

The joint statement highlights major national and international challenges such as climate change, food security, caring for an ageing society and high-skilled job creation, where research plays a huge role in ‘delivering a strong and prosperous future for our economy and society post-Brexit’.

The group of signatories, also points towards evidence of investment in R&D driving productivity, raising living standards and benefiting the whole of the UK.

An extract from the joint statement says:

The next Prime Minister must set out a long-term plan for research and innovation investment up to 2030. This should build on the Government target to boost overall R&D investment initially to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 – and the longer-term aim of 3% of GDP. But words and targets will not be enough, the UK needs a coherent long-term plan to build our position as the global hub for new world-leading technologies, to draw on our strengths across multiple disciplines, to attract talent from around the world and to promote British entrepreneurship.

Currently, in spite of cross-party pledges to boost R&D spending to between 2.4 and 3% of GDP, the UK invests 1.7% of GDP in R&D, below the OECD average of 2.4% and far behind South Korea, Germany, Israel and Japan – all of which invest more than 3% of their GDP in R&D.

The full list of signatories includes The Academy of Medical Sciences, The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), The British Academy, The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), Cancer Research UK, The Institute of Physics (IoP), The CBI, The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAeng), The Royal Society, The Russell Group and Universities UK (UUK).

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