Science as a Guiding Light in Challenging Times: Royal Society proposals for the 2022-23 parliamentary session

05 May 2022

This is a challenging time for the UK and its citizens. Many have experienced deep personal tragedy over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we now face the worst cost of living crisis in a generation. 

From infection detection and modelling to the development of lifesaving vaccines and treatments, science has been pivotal in the fight against the pandemic. It must also play a central role in tackling other challenges we now face, whether that’s through learning from COVID-19 to better prepare for future pandemics, preventing catastrophic biodiversity loss, or providing solutions to the climate crisis while also strengthening our energy resilience and driving down costs for consumers.

The Government’s commitment to boost public investment in R&D over the next five years is welcome and will support progress towards achieving these objectives. However, there are further steps that can be taken over the coming parliamentary session that would maximise this uplift and help tackle our greatest immediate challenges. It is within this context that the Royal Society recommends that the following commitments be included in this year’s Queen’s Speech:

  • Meaningfully supporting R&D for the benefit of the UK's economy and society
  • Shaping the knowledge and skills needed for fulfilling future careers
  • Meeting our climate change targets through science, technology and innovation
  • Treating biodiversity loss with the same urgency as climate change
  • Unlock genetic technologies for the benefit of human health and the environment
  • Safely harnessing data science for the benefit of all