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CaSE Letter to the Party Leaders 2017

09 May 2017

In the run up to the 2017 General Election, CaSE has written to the leaders of all the political parties, inviting them to set out their party’s policies on science and engineering.

The full text of CaSE’s letter is below, and you can access each of the responses we received here:

CaSE’s letter to Party Leaders 2017:

Dear Party Leader

The next Government will seek to build on the UK’s strengths for the public good. The UK’s science base is a national asset that is a magnet for investment and talent. It drives core sectors of the economy, such as finance, agriculture and manufacturing, providing the competitive edge born of sharp minds and tough problems. It delivers progress and prosperity across the UK, generating improvements in health and wellbeing, a strong economy and high value jobs.

The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) is the UK’s leading independent advocate for science and engineering. Our mission is to ensure that the UK has the policies, funding and skills to help science and engineering thrive. Collectively our members employ 360,000 people in the UK, and our industry and charity members invest around £35bn a year globally in R&D.

Across our membership, from large corporates to universities and professional bodies, leaders are concerned that the next Government establishes the best possible conditions for research and innovation to thrive in the UK. Of course, resolving the unknowns and providing certainty is a key requirement. Overarching all the detail, there is genuine and widespread concern about the ability to attract and retain the talent they need for success going forward.

The next Government must use its levers to cultivate an environment in which science and engineering will thrive. First, by nurturing the values and culture of the UK that encourage all our young people to embrace a scientific future, and make it an attractive place for scientists from abroad to call home. Second, by investing at a level to support quality ideas, not just safe ideas. Third, by developing the UK’s infrastructure and global connectivity to ensure that borders aren’t boundaries to collaboration and trade.

The public also contribute to and benefit from science and engineering. Therefore, we would like to publish your written response to the questions below. We would be delighted to work with you to inform and develop your party’s science and engineering policies over the next Parliamentary term.

How will your party:

  • ensure that high quality science, technology, engineering and maths education and training is sustainably funded, fit for purpose, and open to all?
  • ensure the UK has a migration system that supports science and engineering mobility for excellence, skills, education and collaboration?
  • maintain and build on the UK’s leadership and collaboration in research and innovation internationally?
  • invest at a level and in such a way as to enhance the UK’s research and innovation environment?
  • uphold and champion the use of evidence and science advice in all Government decisions, documents and messaging?
  • ensure the regulatory environment facilitates trade and access to markets, and promotes innovation?

CaSE has developed a vision for a thriving science and engineering sector. To achieve this vision, CaSE believes that the new Government should:

Domestic policy actions

  • Commit to a target and plan for combined public and private R&D investment to reach 3% of GDP by 2025
  • Show leadership in transparency and good use of evidence in messaging, policy and publication of data
  • Set up robust science advice structures in the new departments of Departments for Exiting the EU and International Trade, and ensure there is a Chief Scientific Adviser in every Government department
  • Ensure that apprenticeship targets, funding, scheme rules and programmes are aligned with the aims of the industrial strategy
  • Provide certainty and stability for scientists and engineers that are EEA nationals currently working in the UK
  • Remove cap on tier 2 to ensure the UK doesn’t lose out on science and engineering talent due to an arbitrary limit and damaging ‘anti-skilled worker’ messaging.

EU negotiation priorities

  • Seek UK participation and influence in EU R&D programmes and their networks, including Framework Programme 9
  • Ensure UK scientists and engineers can work in the EU without requiring a visa, and vice versa
  • Prioritise regulatory certainty and seek continued influence on regulation that impacts on UK science & engineering

The UK Government is guardian of one of the most high-performing and successful science bases in the world. Your political support will ensure science and engineering continues to be the jewel that distinguishes our position on the world stage and brings improvements in prosperity and quality of life to the British public.

We look forward to receiving your response.

Yours sincerely,                                        

Professor Graeme Reid, Chair                                          

Dr Sarah Main, Director

CaSE's letter to the Party Leaders, May 2017

Download Letter