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CaSE responds to the government re-shuffle

19 Feb 2020

CaSE has responded to the latest Government re-shuffle with new appointments for the science and universities briefs.

CaSE has welcomed Amanda Solloway MP as a new Minister with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Amanda will have responsibility for the science brief, as previously held by Chris Skidmore.

Commenting on the announcement, CaSE Assistant Director Dr Daniel Rathbone said:

“We’re delighted to welcome Amanda Solloway as Science Minister. The Prime Minister’s ambition to boost investment in science and innovation forms a critical part of two flagship agendas, to “level-up” the regions and to be a “global Britain”. Science and engineering has the potential to drive economic growth and world-leading innovation throughout the next decade and beyond. Taking advantage of this opportunity will require the new Science Minister to be a strong and independent voice for science and engineering in Government. We look forward to working with the Minister to ensure the UK has the people, the funding and the policies for science and engineering to thrive.”

We also welcome Michelle Donelan MP as Universities Minister in the Department of Education. Commenting on the announcement Dr Daniel Rathbone said:

“We look forward to working with the Minister to ensure that universities continue to play a crucial role in the UKs research environment. They will be critical to achieving the Government’s goal of a significant increase in research intensity. It will be crucial to ensure the political interface between academic and industrial research remains strong and that impacts on the whole science economy are considered in university decisions, such as teaching and research funding.”

The previous Universities and Science Minister role has now been split into two. On CaSE Comment, Assistant Director Daniel Rathbone has examined what the separation of the ministerial profiles for science and universities might mean for research. The last time that the Universities and Science briefs were held separately was 2008-10 when David Lammy MP was Minister for Higher Education and Lord Drayson was Science Minister. However, at that time both Science and Universities were the responsibility of the same department (Deparment for Innovation, Universities and Skills until June 2009 and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills from June 2009). 


Amanda Solloway MP – Science Minister

Amanda Solloway was elected to Westminster in the 2015 General Election as the Member of Parliament for Derby North. She sat on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, and the Education Skills and the Economy Sub-Committee. In 2017 Ms Solloway lost her seat to the Labour candidate Chris Williamson but was re-elected in December 2019. Before entering Parliament she spent 15 years working in HR for various not-for-profit organisations, as well as in the private sector. Prior to the 2016 EU referendum, Ms Solloway was opposed to Brexit.

Michelle Donelan MP – Universities Minister

Michelle Donelan was first elected to Parliament in 2015 as the Member of Parliament for Chippenham. In her maiden speech Ms Donelan called for greater school funding and the establishment of a national funding formula and long-term education plan. Prior to becoming an MP, Ms Donelan worked as a marketing consultant. She was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General in June 2017 and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the International Trade Secretary in June 2018. Ms Donelan was made an Assistant Government Whip in July 2018. In the 2016 EU referendum she backed Remain.   

There have been additional re-shuffle appointments on briefs that impact UK science and engineering policy, including HM Treasury and BEIS. For a full list of Ministers and Spokespeople see here

We have also reflected on Chris Skidmore’s time as Universities and Science Minister.