"It is essential that research is effectively funded without undue influence from those providing that funding."
Read the Green Party's response to CaSE's letter, setting out the party's commitments that are relevant to the science and engineering sector ahead of the 2017 Election.
Dear CaSE Director,
Many thanks for your email, which has been passed on to me as the Green Party's Policy Development Co-ordinator. I apologise for the delay in responding.
You may be aware that, uniquely among British political parties (as far as I know), Green Party policy is set by its members through motions to conference rather than by the leadership team. This means that we do not necessarily have specific policy to answer each of the points in your letter, but please be assured that I have found these points very interesting and will certainly encourage party members, especially those with professional interest in the sciences and engineering, to bring motions to the upcoming autumn conference to address these gaps, and your generous offer to assist with policy development is noted.
To respond to your asks in turn:
1. ensure that high quality science, technology, engineering and maths education and training is sustainably funded, fit for purpose, and open to all?
This ask is broadly in line with our party's policy chapter on Science, available online at https://policy.greenparty.org.
'ST100 The basic aim of our Science and Technology policy is to encourage and promote research, development and application of science and technology which will:
- Increase knowledge and understanding.
- Help to understand and address the major environmental threats such as climate change, pollution and biodiversity losses.
- Contribute to a better quality of life for all the inhabitants of the world....
ST211 We will increase public spending on R&D to at least 1% of GDP.'
We also have relevant policy in our Education chapter https://policy.greenparty.org.
'ED281 The undertaking of research in universities is an essential part of their work within wider society, and directly influences the ability to teach the next generation of innovators. It is essential that research is effectively funded without undue influence from those providing that funding. A Green Government would:
ED282 Commit a sufficient amount of funding to encourage independent and ethical research....
ED285 Introduce a public research funding code to ensure there is no commercial bias in research undertaken in Higher Education Institutions.'
2. ensure the UK has a migration system that supports science and engineering mobility for excellence, skills, education and collaboration?
The Green party is proud to support the principle of freedom of movement. This forms part of our Green Guarantee, available online at https://www.greenparty.org.uk/
Specifically, out policy on the European Union in forms this element of the Green Guarantee:
'Protect freedom of movement, press for remaining within the single market, and safeguard vital rights for people and the environment.'
3. maintain and build on the UK’s leadership and collaboration in research and innovation internationally?
We do not have specific policy on this issue, but the Green Party would support this as a general principle.
4. invest at a level and in such a way as to enhance the UK’s research and innovation environment?
As noted at question 1, our Education policy chapter confirms that we wish to see effective funding of research in Higher Education, and we also commit to a funding regime that will encourage independent and ethical research.
5. uphold and champion the use of evidence and science advice in all Government decisions, documents and messaging?
This is in line with Green Party policy. We woudl also point to one specific element in our Science chapter, which is intended to ensure that published evidence and advice is holistic rather than partial:
'ST221 All publically funded research, including clinical trials, must publish its results, even if the results obtained were inconclusive or negative.'
6. ensure the regulatory environment facilitates trade and access to markets, and promotes innovation?
As noted in our Economy policy chapter, https://policy.greenparty.org.
'Green policies are based on the principle that we need to reduce to a minimum the overall volume of international trade, and to revitalise local communities by promoting maximum self-reliance, economic, social, and political control, and environmental sustainability. These policies will also greatly increase employment opportunities.'
In light of this we would give limited support to the ask outlined here, and aim for a holistic view that takes into consideration the full range of environmental and social impacts of economic activity.
I do hope this response is useful.
Sam Riches, GPEW Policy Development Co-ordinator