Skip to content

Making R&D a local priority

Lynne Milford

Campaigns and Public Affairs Manager

17 Jun 2024

On 4 July, voters in the UK will go to the polls to choose their next MP. CaSE is making the most of these important weeks during the campaign, to advocate for research and development (R&D).

As parliamentary candidates navigate their way along the campaign trail, we want to draw their attention to the importance of R&D. But it’s not just the national picture that matters here. In our analysis of public attitudes to R&D published today, constituency-level modelling shows there is a strong feeling that MPs should support R&D and bring investment and jobs to their region.

This sends a clear message to candidates – your constituents really value R&D and they want to see their next MP pursue it as a political priority that can bring jobs and wider benefits to their community.

As part of our General Election campaign, we’ve created our Guide to R&D on the Doorstep, to help candidates to talk about R&D with constituents. It’s vital that candidates know how much it’s wanted and needed.

CaSE's Guide to R&D on the Doorstep

Read more

R&D isn’t just something confined to Oxford or Cambridge, it matters to constituencies across the country. This could be through a local science park, university or business, or perhaps through clinical trials running in the local hospital or community-based research studies underway nearby Given the number of MPs who stood down before the election, there will be many fresh faces in the new Parliament – whichever party takes power. This provides a unique opportunity for the sector to get its voice heard. The new Government will be making tough choices on where to invest public money and our sector must demonstrate the role R&D can play in solving problems, whether that’s tackling climate change, delivering affordable healthcare or reducing the cost of living. It’s time for our sector to prove its worth.

In the post-election period, we have further evidence-backed guides that help those championing R&D to engage with politicians and with the public. Our public opinion research can help advocates connect with a range of public audiences and help us all make R&D matter to more people.

It’s vital that we make the most of this opportunity to demonstrate to policy-makers that R&D can help to solve their problems and achieve their goals. When the new Government is elected in July, we will be ready to provide ministers and backbenchers with the information they need to start working on their priorities.

We want politicians to understand how important R&D is; our polling has shown that most people – regardless of how they intend to vote – want the future government to pay more attention to science and innovation.

As we’ve seen from our previous opinion polling, the public are aware of R&D’s importance; they recognise that it can bring investment and jobs to their local area and solve all kinds of problems. However, on its own, this is not enough. We need politicians and policy-makers to be equally convinced of the importance of R&D. After all, they decide where to focus public investment.

Our call to candidates is clear: if you are elected by the public on 4 July, we need you to push for the policy changes that will help R&D thrive – including committing to long-term sustainable R&D investment, leveraging regional strengths, unlocking education and skills, and driving business investment.

In the coming weeks, and the months that follow the election result, CaSE will be banging the drum for R&D, engaging with as many MPs as we can, and we hope that you’ll do the same.