30 March 2021
There are currently serious concerns around the UK's science budget following the announced cuts to the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget and the potential for funding for Horizon Europe needing to be met from existing budgets. In a co-ordinated effort with other science organisations, the British Society for Immunology today released the following statement.
Professor Arne Akbar FMedSci, President of the British Society for Immunology, said:
“The British Society for Immunology is extremely concerned about the current risk to UK science funding. Scientific research and discovery have paved our route out of this pandemic but the cuts to the ODA budget plus the potential consequences of Horizon Europe funding being met from existing budgets threatens to undermine the UK’s ambition to be a science superpower and leave a gaping hole in our record of research excellence.
“The UK is a world leader in immunology research and that status has paid back dividends not least during this pandemic. UK researchers have excelled in driving our knowledge base forward and developing new treatments and vaccines, saving many thousands of lives and hastening our exit from the pandemic. But these research discoveries were not made overnight. For example, the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine was developed off the back of many years of basic and translational research funding that allowed the team to move so quickly to develop the new vaccine when needed.
“While the UK now faces a challenging economic environment, cutting spending on research is not the answer. We know that investing in R&D can drive the economy forward, bringing in private investment and driving innovation. It also allows us to prepare for future challenges that the UK will face, such as climate change, ageing populations and future pandemics. To decrease the UK’s investment in science now would throw away years of work in building a strong and internationally leading science base delivering life-saving outcomes for patients. Our research community and the UK public deserve better.”
You can read statements issued by other organisations through the Science Media Centre here.