Cutting the research budget

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c5128 (Published 20 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5128
  1. Luisa Dillner, head of new product development
  1. 1BMJ Group, London
  1. ldillner{at}bmj.com

    Will diminish the United Kingdom’s research pedigree and damage the economy

    No sooner had Cambridge University ousted Harvard from the top of this years’ QS world university rankings, than Vince Cable, secretary of state for business in the United Kingdom, was making his first science, research, and innovation speech.1 In it he asked “How can we economise without damaging science?” When the results of the government’s comprehensive spending review are announced later this year few doubt, but few want to believe, that there will be serious reductions in research funding. Research quality is, after all, a factor in the QS rankings that puts six of the UK’s universities in the world’s top 25. Cable has already denied in a radio interview that 35% of the research budget will be cut. But rumours are circulating that the seven research councils that invest around £2.8bn (€3.38bn; $4.31bn) a year in research covering all academic disciplines, including medical and biological sciences, have been asked to prepare scenarios on the basis of funding reductions of 10%, 20%, and 30%.

    Cable’s speech argued for prioritising the funding of only excellent research and that which …

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