House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry on the science budget

View the consultation here.

Read the EPC’s response here.

Summary

The Science and Technology Committee undertook an inquiry into the Science Budget, and to report ahead of the Spending Review. The committee began by taking oral evidence in July 2015 from Jo Johnson MP, the Minister for Universities and Science. The Committee invited written submissions on the following issues:

(1) The extent to which the current ring-fence arrangements, and the separate arrangements for determining ‘resource’ and ‘capital’ allocations, have produced coherent UK science and research investment;

(2) The extent to which science and research expenditure in Government departments (outside the science budget) complements or competes with the science budget;

(3) The need for and rationale for any adjustment to the trajectory of future Government expenditure on science and research, and what would be gained from an increase (or lost from a reduction) compared with current expenditure levels;

(4) Whether the current distributions of the budget between particular types of expenditure and between different organisations is appropriate for future requirements, and achieves an appropriate balance between pure and applied research;

(5) What level of Government expenditure on science and research is needed:

  • to significantly drive the overall level of such expenditure in the economy, through synergies between government and private sector investment (including overseas investment); and
  • to optimally balance its benefits against the opportunity cost of government expenditure foregone on other public services.

(6) Whether the Government’s expenditures on aspects of science and research are consistent with other government policies, including the Industrial Strategies and the Eight Great Technologies and fiscal incentive policies for research investment; and

(7) The extent to which any increase or reduction in Government expenditure on science and research will have an impact on the UK’s relative position among competitor states.

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