Responding to the Autumn Statement, Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society, said:
“In the face of severe economic challenges, today’s Autumn Statement backs science, technology and innovation as a central pillar for increasing productivity and economic growth. In turn, this can deliver jobs, investment and benefits for people across the UK.
“Upholding the pledged £20bn for research and innovation offers much-needed certainty that global talent and businesses need to build their futures in the UK. While it will be crucial to see the underlying detail, reforming regulation to drive innovation, promoting research clusters around UK universities and institutional investment in start-ups should help nurture skilled jobs and emerging industries in all nations and regions of the UK.
“Science can increase productivity through new knowledge and processes, but it is a long-term endeavour. Innovations that saved lives during the Covid-19 pandemic and clean technologies that will ensure our energy independence and limit the worst effects of climate change come from basic research breakthroughs made decades ago. Supporting scientific discovery alongside innovation will be key to our longer-term success.
“Science is also a global endeavour that draws on the talents and ingenuity of an international cohort of researchers and collaborators – not least our partners in the EU. While there are welcome hints of progress in discussions over the Northern Ireland protocol, securing rapid and pragmatic association to Horizon Europe remains the best outcome for R&D in the UK and the EU.”