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The 2.4% solution

Can government higher education policy survive the Westminster maelstrom?

Writing for HE’s Sunday Reading yesterday, universities and science minister Chris Skidmore described himself as the minister for 2.4 per cent. He was referring not to the one million people estimated to have marched in London on 23 March demanding a second referendum on European Union membership—roughly 2.4 per cent of the electorate—but to the government’s pledge to raise expenditure on R&D in the UK to the equivalent of 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027.

We’ve said this before under previous science ministers, so we’ll say it again in light of Skidmore’s comments. The government does not plan to spend 2.4 per cent of GDP on research: funding and expenditure are not the same thing.

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