The Research Councils today publish their preliminary response to HM Treasury’s five public policy challenges for the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review. Past successes, ongoing activities, and future examples demonstrate how they are well positioned to mobilise the UK research base in these areas for the benefit of the UK economy and society.
Details of how the Research Councils' portfolios of research already contribute and can be further mobilised to meet these challenges, and examples of previous projects, can be found here
The Treasury's challenges announced in July 2005 are: the rapidly increasing population of older people, the shift in economic focus to China and India, rapid technological change, global uncertainty and the threat of international terrorism, and the growing pressure on global resources and climate.
Research Council investments are already bearing fruit in these areas and future research will underpin the endeavours of Government, industry and charities. Successful outcomes relevant to the challenges include:
- Results from a £21 million, 10-year clinical trial of statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) in 20,000 40-80 year old men and women showed that over a third of heart attacks and strokes, major causes of death and loss of independence in the elderly, could be prevented.
- Research by the Advanced Institute of Management Research identified six "New Year's resolutions for UK business" in January 2006 that would enable companies to improve their competitiveness and productivity.
- Studies into human touch and interaction with the external environment, will make it easier for designers to replicate the experience of using a pen and paper, instead of a computer mouse, to enable artists and designers to exploit the full potential of computer aided design.
- Research into the psychology of face recognition enables police to help witnesses describe faces more effectively and enhance the possibilities for suspect identification.
- A Research Council spin-out company informs decisions of the major oil and mineral companies on drilling new targets and improving hydrocarbon recovery.
Professor Ian Diamond, Chair of the Research Councils UK (RCUK), the strategic partnership of the eight Research Councils, commented "The Research Councils' response to all five Treasury challenges shows how curiosity-driven research can underpin high level government objectives and how we can collectively put the UK’s world class research base to work for the public good."
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Matt Goode, Research Councils UK
Tel: 01793 413299
Notes to Editors
Details on the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review can be found on: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/spending_review
About Research Councils UK
The eight Research Councils are independent non-departmental public bodies, funded by the Science Budget through the Office of Science and Technology. They are incorporated by Royal Charter and together manage a research budget of over £2.5 billion a year.
Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the partnership between the UK's eight Research Councils. Through RCUK, the Research Councils work together to champion the research, training and innovation they support. The Research Councils are independent non-departmental public bodies, funded by the Science Budget through the Office of Science and Technology.
RCUK was created to increase the collective visibility, leadership and policy influence of the Research Councils; to stimulate multi-disciplinary research that encourages collaboration; to provide a single focus for collective dialogue with stakeholders and to encourage greater harmonisation of internal operations.
The partnership is led by the RCUK Executive Group, which meets monthly and comprises the chief executives of the eight Research Councils. The Group is currently chaired by Professor Ian Diamond, Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council.
The eight UK Research Councils are:
- Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC);
- Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
- Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC);
- Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC);
- Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
- Medical Research Council (MRC);
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);
- Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council (PPARC).