An update on the state of UK science funding, including international comparisons, and CaSE's autumn statement priorities

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, is due to deliver his first autumn statement on November 23rd. Here we take a look at the state of R&D funding, where we expect changes to be made, and questions that need to be answered; particularly with the expected loss or reduction of EU funding.

Update: You can read CaSE's response to the 2016 Autumn Statement here.

Summary

State of the funding from the 2016 budget and 2015 spending review:

  • The total science and research budget was fixed in real terms at £5.9 billion in 2016/2017, increasing to £6.3 billion by 2019/2020.
  • This increase from flat cash was made up by the £1.5bn Global Challenges Research Fund (started in 2015/16) funding allocated to BEIS from DfID aid spending.
  • The Innovate UK budget will be maintained in cash terms for the rest of the Parliament at £561m 2016/17, therefore falling in real terms.

UK and EU Research and Development (R&D) expenditure:

  • Government financed gross expenditure on R&D is among the lowest in the EU at 0.48% of GDP compared to the EU15 average of 0.68%
  • Across all sectors the UK spends 1.7% of GDP on R&D, equating to £30.6bn, well below the OECD average of 2.38%.
  • The UK received €8.8bn in EU funding for R&D between 2007 and 2013, and currently receives an estimated £1.55bn a year in structural and Horizon 2020 funds.

CaSE Autumn Statement priorities

  • Commit publicly to ensuring that the total level of investment in UK science from EU and UK public sources combined will not decrease from the current level following Brexit.
  • Act to mitigate against any reductions in the purchasing power of research budgets due to reductions in the value of the Pound
  • Commit to a long-term target for public and private R&D spending to reach 3% of GDP by 2025.