Research Councils UK (RCUK) has launched its Strategic Framework for Capital Investment, as part of a speech made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne today (9 November 2012) at the Royal Society in London.
Investing for growth: Capital Infrastructure for the 21st Century, is a strategic framework against which Research Councils will plan future investments in the UK’s capital infrastructure for research.
Unlocking research opportunities requires both highly technical and often expensive infrastructure. Continued investment is therefore essential to enable the UK to maintain its world-leading position in research and to continue to make vital contributions to economic growth and social wellbeing.
Professor Rick Rylance, Chair of Research Councils UK, said: “Economic pressures have led to a reduction in capital funding for research and, critically, the removal of this funding from the Science Budget’s ringfence. However, the need for investment in capital and infrastructure projects has not diminished; in fact, it is more crucial than ever. The rate of technological advance is accelerating and our researchers need the very best facilities to deliver the excellent research needed for economic growth.
“RCUK has responded to this challenge, and the Framework will enable the Research Councils to make strategic capital investment decisions to retain, foster and develop our national capability and continue to lead in global science and research.”
The Framework addresses UK research investment needs to:
- develop an underpinning national infrastructure which supports the UK’s capability for excellent research and technology development; and
- guide capital investment to meet the highest priority challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.
David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, said: “This is a long term plan to invest in science and research. We will draw on it as we decide on our future spending plans. We will sustain world class science and get even better at commercialising it.”
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Notes to editors
The publication Investing for Growth: Capital Infrastructure for the 21st Century is available here.
Investing for Growth: Capital Infrastructure for the 21st Century replaces the Large Facilities Roadmap and reflects changes to capital funding in the 2012 spending review science settlement. The Framework has been informed by the strategic plans of the Research Councils; by working with a mix of strategic advisors from across the Research Councils; and has had input from the research community through an RCUK consultation. A range of UK agencies also informed its development, including the UK funding councils, the Technology Strategy Board and the UK Space Agency.
George Osborne announced the new Framework is his speech at the Royal Society on 9 November. The speech is available on the HM Treasury website.
Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils who annually invest around £3 billion in research. We support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK. To maintain the UK’s global research position we offer a diverse range of funding opportunities, foster international collaborations and provide access to the best facilities and infrastructure around the world. We also support the training and career development of researchers and work with them to inspire young people and engage the wider public with research. To maximise the impact of research on economic growth and societal wellbeing we work in partnership with other research funders including the Technology Strategy Board, the UK Higher Education funding bodies, business, government, and charitable organisations. www.rcuk.ac.uk.
The seven UK Research Councils are:
- Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC);
- Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
- Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC);
- Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
- Medical Research Council (MRC);
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);
- Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).