In DepthScience Policy

After Brexit, U.K. budget offers boost to science

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Science  20 Mar 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6484, pp. 1291
DOI: 10.1126/science.367.6484.1291

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For scientists in the United Kingdom, the country's departure from the European Union threatens a major source of grants and collaboration. But they can now count on one thing: an unprecedented boost in domestic research funding. Last week, in its budget announcement, the U.K. government said it would increase public R&D by 15% to £13 billion in the fiscal year beginning next month—with even bigger raises to come. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his advisers see science as an engine of innovation for the post-Brexit economy. To that end, the new budget includes £800 million to set up a funding agency modeled on the storied U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency. The budget also includes £400 million this year for parts of the country that have lagged in capturing research grants, and funds to incentivize private investment in R&D. The long-term goal is to increase total R&D spending, public and private, from about 1.7% of gross domestic product to 2.4%, the average of economically developed countries.

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