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…as experts agree ‘research aid’ could benefit UK

The UK government’s decision to use aid funds to improve the research and innovation capacity of other countries may also serve the UK’s own economic interests, according to leading researchers.

Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to spend £455 million on research collaborations with “emerging powers” in the next five years. Of this, £80m will be for space research and £100m for collaboration with China, an amount to be matched by the Chinese government. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills also defines Chile and Colombia as emerging powers.

Some £375m will come from the Department for International Development’s development assistance budget, commonly known as the aid budget. However, it will still count towards the government’s target of 0.7 per cent of GDP to be spent on aid. The total amount spent on aid by the UK this year is expected to hit £11.3 billion.

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