Responding to the 2020 Spending Review, Dr Diana Beech, Chief Executive of London Higher said;
“It was obviously pleasing to see the Chancellor reaffirm the Government’s commitment to making the UK a “scientific superpower” in today’s Spending Review and pledge almost £15bn of funding in 2021-22 for research and development. However, it is also worrying that the words “universities” or “higher education” are nowhere to be found in either the Chancellor’s speech or indeed the wider Treasury Spending Review documents.
The failure to connect the UK’s scientific prowess with the research activities taking place in or in conjunction with our world-leading universities – many of which are based in London – is a missed opportunity to make clear to the public just how pivotal our higher education institutions are in building new science capability and making the Government’s vision a reality.
After all, much of the clinical research we’re all looking to, to get us out of the current Covid-19 pandemic – including the search for new drugs, treatments and vaccines – takes place in universities or with the input of university researchers. Is it really too much to ask, then, for the Government to explicitly mention the value of higher education to its own science and innovation ambitions to showcase the world leading role that universities already play, and their critical role in rebuilding the national economy”