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The British Academy’s view on the Government’s response to Nurse Review and Autumn Statement

22 Nov 2023

The Government has today published its response to the Nurse Review of the UK’s Research, Development and Innovation Organisational Landscape, alongside its Autumn Statement for 2023.

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

“We share the Government’s vision for a research and innovation landscape that is dynamic, diverse, resilient and investable. As today’s response to the Nurse Review makes clear, this can only be achieved by bringing together all parts of the research ecosystem and by drawing on all talents, including those in the UK’s world-leading SHAPE subjects (Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts for People and the Economy).

“From harnessing AI for public good to unlocking the power of the creative industries, collaborations across SHAPE and STEM subjects generate substantial benefits for our economy, society and culture, and offer the UK a global strategic advantage. It is therefore vital that we nurture them and maximise their potential. The independent review of spin out companies earlier this week noted the significant commercial and impact potential of the humanities and social sciences. Meanwhile, there is also an opportunity to use R&D to help boost the UK’s booming creative industries, as set out in my evidence and recommendations to the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology. I am therefore pleased to see a commitment in the Autumn Statement that ‘the Government will review public investment in R&D spending for the creative industries to a Spending Review timeframe.’

“Throughout the response it is encouraging to see so much emphasis on strengthening our international partnerships and collaboration. The Government’s welcome decision to associate to Horizon Europe will go a long way to making this happen, though more work needs to be done. In particular, we would like the Government to review its approach to visas, which are currently too costly and too burdensome, making it difficult to bring the brightest and best researchers to the UK.

“Finally, the Government recognises the need to deepen our understanding of research and innovation capabilities and has proposed creating a new metascience unit to evaluate different funding models. This kind of experimentation is vital. Indeed, it is an area where the British Academy is already taking the lead, trialling a new method of partial randomisation for allocating our Small Research Grants.

“In the Autumn Statement today, the Chancellor rightly praised our universities, researchers, and the UK’s incredible creative sector. We look forward to working with the Government to deliver its vision for a prosperous and innovative economy.”

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