UK has yet to appoint a science minister • The Register
A House of Lords committee says the UK’s position in science and innovation is under threat from a lack of government attention and financial investment.
The UK government, which saw new Prime Minister Liz Truss take the reins three weeks ago, has yet to appoint a science minister because the role, even when filled, lacks sufficient clout.
“The UK has many strengths in science and innovation, despite chronic underinvestment compared to other OECD countries. We believe these strengths are seriously under threat and efforts must be doubled to ensure the UK meets and exceeds the target of 2.4% of GDP spent on R&D,” the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee said in a statement. letter to Truss [PDF].
In a report released in August, the committee urged anyone who becomes prime minister to appoint a dedicated science and innovation minister to a cabinet-level position.
“We note, however, that at the time of writing this position has not been filled and no appointed Minister of State is expected to attend the Cabinet. We urge you to reconsider this and appoint a Minister for Science to Cabinet as soon as possible,” he added. said Baroness Brown of Cambridge, chair of the committee and former head of the faculty of engineering at Imperial College London, in the letter.
Brexit campaign architect Dominic Cummings, who later became former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, adopted the motto “Get Brexit Done…then Arpa” during the 2019 general election campaign. He was referring to the US research and development agency which is partly credited with developing the Internet and other technologies.
In July, the appointed by the government Matt Clifford, co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneur First, and Ilan Gur, founder and former CEO of innovation nonprofit Activate, as chairman and CEO respectively.
In November 2020, the expenditure review go plan the government’s plan to invest £14.6 billion ($15.6 billion) in R&D from 2021 to 2022, to meet the government’s target of 2.4% of GDP spent on R&D in the UK economy by 2027.
Amid complaints about slow progress on Aria, the Lords Science and Technology Committee has criticized the government’s progress towards its goal of making the UK a “scientific superpower” by 2030.
Its August report said the UK government’s suggestion that the private sector could contribute to the 2.4% target was “not convincing”.
The committee said: “The government hopes to leverage private sector funding to meet the 2.4% target. It has identified areas for reform, such as public procurement, regulation and pension rules, but these are long-lasting suggestions and the committee was not convinced that this attempt would be more successful.Industry has not been sufficiently involved in the government’s strategy.
So far, the decision to leave the EU appears to take the UK away from its ambition to be a scientific ‘superpower’. The government has so far failed to secure the UK’s inclusion in the EU’s €95.5bn (about $91bn) Horizon research funding scheme since left the world’s richest trading bloc.
In August, then-foreign minister Truss launched a “consultation” with the EU over the lack of progress on the funding source that many researchers consider vital. She accused the EU of “repeatedly seeking to politicize vital scientific cooperation by refusing to finalize access to these important programmes”. The EU was “in flagrant breach” of the UK-EU Departure Agreement, she said.
However, a spokesperson for the European Commission said the trade and cooperation agreement did not include a specific obligation or deadline for the EU to involve the UK in union programmes.
“The Commission takes note of the UK’s request for consultation and will act on it in accordance with the applicable rules, as set out in the ATT,” he said. ®