Royal Society representations to the Spring Budget (2024)

25 January 2024

This submission to the 2024 Spring Budget outlines how the government can support and enhance UK science for the long-term good of society and our economy.

Key policy recommendations: 

  • To maintain its global leadership in science and innovation, the UK should lead the G7 on R&D investment as a percentage of GDP and seek to be among the top science nations globally. 
  • Spending should be supported by a long-term strategy for science which considers the system as a whole, over cycles of a minimum ten years, providing the stability needed by researchers, innovators and investors. 
  • Building on association to Horizon Europe, the Government should create a comprehensive international strategy for science collaboration, with long-term, cross-government support.
  • Horizon Europe underspend should be ringfenced to enable talented researchers to pursue groundbreaking ideas and discoveries.   
  • Up-front visa costs for researchers should be reduced in line with other leading science nations.
  • An evidence-based net zero technology roadmap should be produced that identifies the key sectors and technologies that need investment.
  • The Government should invest in the construction of large-scale hydrogen storage facilities if it is to reach legally binding net zero targets by 2050. 
  • The post-16 education system should be reformed to offer a broader and more expansive curriculum, including the study of maths to 18. This should be accompanied by more funding for Core Maths and expanded provision of teacher CPD.   
  • The Government should re-evaluate the content and implementation of the legacy EU regulations that govern crops improved with the GM method and consider how to reduce the burden of those that add no value to the risk assessment process.
  • Decisive steps should be taken to improve the UK clinical trial environment. Steps should include the implementation of novel trial designs suited to testing the ability of single drugs to combat multiple diseases in older and multimorbid patients, enabling world-leading UK geroscience research to leave the lab and deliver public health benefit.