National academies set out priorities to boost UK science after May’s general election

The next UK government should invest twice as much in research, according to a joint statement released by the National Academies – a group comprising the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society – ahead of May’s general election.

The report, Building a stronger future: research, innovation and growth, sets out four main priorities it says the next government must adopt if the UK is to attract more R&D investment and remain competitive internationally. The government must increase research spending, place greater importance on research and innovation in its economic plan, encourage the development of a skilled workforce and make sure expert scientific advice is available to policy makers.

The report also makes specific recommendations, such as increasing government funding for research from 0.5% to 1% of GDP, recruiting more teachers with specialist subject knowledge and making sure immigration policies do not put international students and researchers off coming to the UK.

‘UK research is world leading. The innovation it drives is crucial for economic recovery and is the foundation of a knowledge economy,’ said John Tooke, president of the Academy of Medical Sciences, in a statement. ‘The next government must commit to making the UK the best place in the world to undertake such work to realise the clear social and economic gains it generates.’