Boost for science research

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 25 July 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:231

An extra £1.1bn investment for science and engineering research was also announced as a result of the comprehensive spending review, writes Jacqui Wise.

The package includes a £600m fund to modernise university laboratories and another £400m to meet the costs of new projects. The boost for science was made possible because of a public-private partnership with the Wellcome Trust, which has contributed £400m of this new money--including £100m towards a new high intensity xray synchrotron machine for research into the human genome.

Dr Michael Dexter, director of the Wellcome Trust, said that the trust has already committed £300m towards sequencing the human genome but exploiting all the information that will emerge from the project would require the close interaction of several science disciplines. “We need a university system in the UK that has the infrastructure to meet the demands being placed on it,” said Dr Dexter. “Many of the science departments in our universities have inadequate conditions--out of date equipment, poor facilities--all as a result of chronic underfunding over many, many years.”

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