Cut science and the brain drain starts here | Mark Henderson – Times Online
Notes from the UK on why it is vital to maintain investment in science and research. The data on start-ups are particularly interesting.
Unlike most public spending, the £7.5 billion science budget pays for itself over and over again. University spinout companies have been floated on the stock market or taken over for a combined total of £3.5 billion over the past four years, and employ 14,000 people. The Medical Research Council estimates that every pound it spends brings back a 40p return each year. Sir Martin Taylor, who chaired the Royal Society report, says that the road to economic recovery is paved with science.
This is not special pleading on behalf of boffins who stand to lose their research grants. It is a case that has been accepted by our international rivals. In the same week that Mr Darling slashed university funding, President Sarkozy of France announced an extra €35 billion for research. Germany will spend an extra €12 billion on education and science by 2013, while China has been raising budgets by 20 per cent a year for a decade. President Obama’s stimulus package included more than $100 billion for science, and while his most recent budget freezes overall spending for three years, science funding increases by 5.9 per cent a year.
If Britain tacks the other way, our best scientists will be fine — there will be plenty of takers for their services abroad. We will not be able to say the same for our economy.
But read it all via the link above.