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Flat-cash budget may last until 2019, says BIS official

Image: Ken Teegardin [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

A flat-cash settlement for science in the comprehensive spending review after the general election in 2015 may have to be seen as a “good outcome”, a senior civil servant at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has said.

John O’Reilly, the department’s director-general of knowledge and innovation, said that such a settlement would renew the £4.6-billion ring fence for science and research for four or five years, meaning a decrease in funding once inflation is taken into account.

He urged researchers and research institutions to reach a consensus on the direction of UK research in the run-up to the 2015 settlement, saying that such an agreement would help to inform his discussions with ministers and civil servants at BIS and the Treasury. “I’m very keen that we look further downstream than the spending review and ask ourselves: ‘What would be good in this area for the sort of economy and society that the UK needs?’” Such a consensus would include a definition of what ‘research excellence’ means in the long term, he added.

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