Spending Review 2013 – who asked for what?

Posted on Jun 26, 2013

A round-up of influential submissions and lobbying activity in the run-up to the spending review relating to science, engineering, and innovation.


Campaign for Science & Engineering (CASE)

In the run-up to the spending review, Dr Sarah Main, the new CaSE director, welcomed the Chancellor’s signals about science funding (“the spending review is about making choices, and for me science is a personal priority”) but warned that the UK’s slide down the rankings of global science economies was still troubling, and that the Chancellor needed to demonstrate a commitment to keeping the UK in the scientific premier league.



The CBI outlined their view on the key priorities in science, research, and innovation ahead of the spending review. They said that investment which maintains the UK as a world leader in research and development was important to growth and deficit reduction. They set out a number of priorities which were critical for business:

  • A coherent long-term research and innovation strategy
  • The science budget must be protected, with particular emphasis on elements with a strong economic impact
  • Under-resourcing of the TSB should be redressed as soon as possible
  • The wider innovation ecosystem needs consideration, including a competitive tax system and intelligent public procurement

See: CBI Response


Big Innovation Centre

The Big Innovation Centre’s submission to the spending review was their ‘Manifesto for Innovation and Growth’ and called on the Chancellor to prioritise science, research, and technology through a £2 billion package of targeted measures:

  • Increasing the budget for science, engineering, and technology in line with inflation
  • Investing in underlying infrastructure such as the next generation of superfast broadband
  • Funding a new form of industrial strategy aimed at driving innovation and unlocking potential new markets

They specifically recommended investments of £300 million for world-class university research facilities and a doubling of the TSB’s budget (an increase of £220m).


Royal Society of Chemistry

The RSC’s campaign “Chemistry: We Mean Business” highlighted three key areas the government should focus on to secure and maximise growth through science and innovation:

  1. Commit to a long-term plan to return science funding to internationally competitive levels.
  2. Consolidate innovation mechanisms to help convert research into growth.
  3. Ensure people have the skills to take up new jobs in the innovation economy.


Institute of Physics

In their response to Sir John O’Reilly, the Institute of Physics called for:

  • A significant science and research budget that grows in real terms and that balances support between curiosity-driven and targeted research allied with a long-term framework for innovation funding.
  • Support the role of the TSB in bolstering innovative businesses that bring knowledge out of the research base to the market.
  • Reinstate the capital funding for research, coupled with a matched increase in exploitation funding.


Royal Academies

The Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, British Academy, and Academy of Medical Sciences made a joint public statement called “Fuelling prosperity” in April. It said research and innovation were drivers of UK growth and competitiveness and recommended Government:

  • Builds a ten year investment framework for research, innovation and skills which sits at the heart of the emerging industrial strategy and growth plans.
  • Increases investment in research and innovation to keep pace with other leading scientific nations.
  • Secures the ring fence around the science budget and increases investment in research capital.
  • Ensures that research continues to be at the heart of evidence-based policy making across Whitehall.
  • Creates a world-class research and innovation environment attractive to talent, collaboration, and investment from industry and from overseas.


Science is Vital 

In June, the campaign Science is Vital made a presentation to David Willetts on the legacy of the 2010 Spending Review, echoing other organisations in their call for a clear long-term spending commitment.


The outcome

A reflection on the spending review and the implications for science and engineering is published by The Guardian here or you can see the full document from HM Treasury here.