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BSI statement on recent science funding policy announcements

Female scientist holding up an eppendorf

28 February 2023

It's been a busy time for UK science policy. Last week, the Campaign for Science and Engineering (of which the BSI is a member) highlighted that the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has returned £1.6 billion of funds to the Treasury, which had previously been allocated for Horizon Europe association or domestic alternatives.  In better news, the recent movement on the Northern Ireland Brexit deal looks likely to bring forward discussion on UK association with European international research programmes, in particular Horizon Europe. In response, the British Society for Immunology has released the following statement.

Professor Tracy Hussell, President of the British Society for Immunology, said:

“News that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has returned £1.6 billion of funding to the Treasury that had been earmarked for supporting international science collaboration is a bitter blow to the UK science community and a major backwards step from the Government’s stated aim of developing the UK as a ‘science superpower’. 

“While the whole community was buoyed by the recent news of a new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology with a seat at Cabinet, we now need to see action to support UK science, not just words.  The UK excels in its science base in many areas, including immunology, but to reach its full potential, we need the Government to play a leading role in building ongoing investment and commitment. 

“The British Society for Immunology still believes the UK’s interests are best served through association with Horizon Europe and we welcome yesterday’s confirmation that the recent progress on a Northern Ireland Brexit deal will open discussions to this. We look forward to hearing more from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology on their future plans for UK science, and we will work closely with the wider science community to ensure the needs of immunology are represented.”