On Tuesday 17th July Adam asked the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for an update on the level of public funding towards scientific research (12:11:03 to 12:12:37):
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): How much funding his Department has provided to the UK science base in the last 12 months.
Sam Gyimah (Minister of State for Higher Education) (Joint with the Department for Education): The principal research funding route is through UK Research and Innovation, which in 2018 alone accounts for over £6 billion of investment in research and innovation. I am proud that the Conservative Government have overseen the largest increase in scientific research and development funding that we have ever seen in the UK. We are investing an additional £7 billion in R&D by 2022, as a first step in delivering our ambition of increasing the UK’s R&D spend to 2.4% of GDP.
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): As a former shadow Science Minister, I am very conscious of the increases in funding, particularly in cash terms, but I am also acutely conscious that it is not just cash but the availability of talent that matters when it comes to science, innovation and the industrial base. Given the recent concerns around Brexit and everything else, will the Minister reassure me that the availability of highly talented scientists will still be a priority for this Government?
Gyimah (Minister of State for Higher Education) (Joint with the Department for
Education): The increase in funding is actually in
real terms, but my hon. Friend is absolutely right: to succeed here, we have to
be open to ideas and open to talent. He will have seen the recent relaxation in
the tier 5 visa restrictions for scientists. We are also investing £900 million
in UKRI’s flagship future leadership fellowships and a further £350 million for
the national academies to expand their prestigious fellowships. When it comes
to science, innovation and research, we are open for business.
The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie, said:
“Britain has an extraordinary history of being at the forefront of scientific discoveries. Whether it’s the television, the telephone or the World Wide Web, the modern world runs on discoveries and inventions made by British scientists.
“Whilst funding is a prerequisite to researching new scientific wonders, it is not a silver bullet. That is why I’m so pleased to see that the Government is wisely investing in fellowships and relaxing tier 5 visas. We must be open to scientists immigrating to the UK and actively enabling and encouraging the best to collaborate worldwide.
“This is also a real opportunity to highlight this Conservative Government’s plans for a Global Britain after we have left the EU: one that is outward looking and welcomes talented migrants rather than shuns them.
“As the chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, I am keen that the Government reassures scientists and researchers that this continues to be a country where the modern day Newtons, Faradays and Darwins can thrive.”
1. Adam Afriyie has been Member of Parliament for Windsor since 2005.
2. He has a strong background in the information services and technology industry and was shadow Minister for Science from 2007-2010.
4. Adam is also Patron of the Parliamentary Space Committee (PSC) and Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Technology.