Royal Society submission to the 2023 Autumn Statement

06 December 2023

This submission to the Government’s 2023 Autumn Statement outlines how long-term decision-making can ensure that science and technology can deliver the advances that underpin a more secure, prosperous and resilient future. 

Our key recommendations are: 

Research and innovation 

The Government should implement a long-term strategy for science which takes a long view of the UK’s research and innovation priorities and opportunities – at least 10 years ahead with a regular review cycle – and consider the system as a whole. 

The UK should lead the G7 on R&D investment as a percentage of GDP and aim to be among the top science nations globally.  

This year's Horizon Europe underspend should be ringfenced to enable talented researchers to pursue groundbreaking ideas and discoveries. 

Upfront work and study visa costs for researchers should be reduced in line with other leading science nations.   

Net Zero 

Government should immediately bring forward an evidence-led UK technology roadmap to accelerate the rate of decarbonisation and guide investment to fledgling sectors and technologies that will be critical for delivering net zero by 2050.  

The Government should immediately kick-start the construction of large-scale hydrogen storage facilities if it is to meet its pledge that all electricity will come from low carbon sources by 2035 and reach legally binding net zero targets by 2050.  


The Government should continue to pursue an alternative to the current narrow A-level examinations. This would ensure that young people experience a more expansive education equivalent to that experienced by their counterparts in other high-performing economies, including an opportunity to combine technical education and academic options for some.  

Funding should be increased to ensure that all schools and colleges can offer a Core Maths qualification. This qualification is designed to provide students with the mathematical, statistics and data skills that they will need for further study in most subjects and for future employment.  

The Government should guarantee teachers 35 hours of subject specific CPD annually, along with the establishment of an independent expert body to oversee its coordination and resourcing.