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Science and engineering in the 2021 elections

25 Apr 2021

Ahead of the 2021 local and devolved elections on the 6th May, CaSE has written to the leaders of political parties in Scotland and Wales and candidates in the regional mayoral elections, inviting them to embrace the opportunities offered by science and engineering.

A strong set of policies to support research and innovation is vital to helping all nations and regions across the UK unlock the benefits of science and engineering; bringing economic, health and societal rewards to everyone. Investing in regional R&D can also play a significant role in reaching the Government’s target of increasing R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, driving further growth and prosperity for the whole of the UK.

CaSE has written to the leaders of the political parties in Wales and Scotland, as well as candidates in eight regional mayoral elections; Cambridge and Peterborough, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, London, Tees Valley, West Midlands, West of England and West Yorkshire. 

Commenting on the devolved and mayoral elections, CaSE Executive Director Professor Sarah Main said:

“Scotland and Wales both have unique strengths in science and innovation that contribute to the UK’s diverse world-leading research base. As we approach elections to the Senedd and Scottish Parliament, I urge all party leaders to set out how they will build on these strengths and use investment in R&D to the benefit of their nations. Such investment will drive the health and economic recovery from COVID-19 as well as progress on challenges such as climate change.

“In our work on the power of place we have seen the importance of local leadership from Mayors and the combined authorities they lead. Local leadership is critical in attracting and enabling R&D projects that lead to local economic growth and wider societal benefits. These projects create high skilled jobs and attract people to the region. If elected, we urge all Mayoral candidates to provide leadership to maximise their region’s science and technology strengths.”

The letters continue CaSE’s project of work examining the impact of place-based regional investment on local economic growth, which includes the publishing of a major report The Power of Place. The report examines how to maximise the local economic impact of greater R&D intensity across the regions and nations of the UK.

We’ve sent copies of the report to all devolved party leaders and mayoral candidates, and we hope this useful resource helps inform and develop their policies on science and engineering. Following the elections, we look forward to working with all devolved parties and regional mayors across the UK to ensure that every citizen reaps the rewards that science and engineering has to offer.