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Exclusive: Sam Gyimah lays out Lib Dem R&D plans

Image: The Royal Society

Writing for Research Fortnight, the Liberal Democrats’ science spokesperson sets out the party’s plans

R&D and innovation in the UK require “major change” and the Liberal Democrats are the party to improve the sector over the next parliament, according to their science spokesperson.

“Liberal Democrats have a transformative plan to make the UK a world leader in responsible innovation and cutting-edge research,” writes Sam Gyimah, the Liberal Democrats spokesperson for business, energy and industrial strategy, in an exclusive piece for Research Fortnight ahead of the general election.

Research Fortnight has invited the main UK political parties to pen open letters to the sector to explain why researchers should vote for them. (Read the letter from Labour’s Chi Onwurah here; the letter from the Conservatives’ Chris Skidmore here; and the letter from SNP’s Carol Monaghan here.)

“Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and keep EU research funding and collaboration central to the growth and global influence of the UK’s innovative development sector,” Gyimah writes.

“With freedom of movement guaranteed, we will be able to keep highly skilled scientists working in the UK and ensure that talented people still choose to come here and contribute to our globally competitive research. We will be able to keep access to money and networks that support the UK to work with scientists around the world.”

He promises to double innovation spending, and to publish a roadmap to increase national spending on R&D to 3 per cent of GDP.

“We will invest an additional £5.4 billion on top of projected government spend to achieve our interim target of 2.4 per cent of GDP spent on research and development by no later than 2027,” Gyimah says.

“A Liberal Democrat government will maintain our position in the heart of Europe and put forward-thinking research and development at the centre of our agenda for an innovation-led economy.”

Read the full letter here.