The British Academy responds to Budget and Spending Review

27 Oct 2021

The British Academy has responded to the publication of the Budget and Spending Review, welcoming a commitment to sustained increases in funding for Research and Development.

Professor Julia Black, President of the British Academy, said:

“This Budget and Spending Review comes at a time of extraordinary pressure on the public finances as Britain seeks to recover from the twin challenges of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. Support for R&D and higher education will be vital to the UK’s recovery, the delivery of its strategies for Innovation and Talent and the Integrated Review, as well as maintaining its global reputation as a centre of excellence for science and research across all the disciplines.

“We therefore welcome the decision to continue funding R&D substantially and in a sustained way, increasing annual investment from £14.9 billion to £20 billion by 2024/5, and the commitment to continue that trajectory to reach £22 billion by 2026/7. Long-term continuous investment is the best way to build real capacity across our research base. We still believe that the original target to invest at least 2.4 per cent of GDP in research by 2027 remains imperative if we are to compete on a global stage where percentage investments are already much higher. We therefore welcome the government’s renewed commitment to this target, particularly the increase in the proportion of the 2.4% which will come from public investment.

“Britain’s recovery from the pandemic, its ability to lead the transition to Net Zero, to address inequalities and to continue to be seen as a global leader will depend in large part on the health of its research sector, with STEM and SHAPE disciplines (Social Sciences and Humanities for People and the Economy) working side by side. Investment in R&D is a key part of the solution to any problem facing us as a society. This crucially includes delivering on the government’s commitment to associating to Horizon Europe so that we can continue to collaborate with our European partners and fully participate in the world-leading European Research Council.”

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