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Government chief scientist defends ‘the R in R&D’

Image: Cristina Gallardo for Research Professional News

Blue-sky research in the UK is underfunded across all disciplines, the government’s chief scientist Patrick Vallance has said.

Speaking at the Science Museum on 28 November, Vallance said it was necessarily to increase public funding for the translation of new findings into products, to reassure the Treasury that spending on R&D yields benefits for the economy and society. But he warned against doing this at the expense of basic research, which is “underfunded across the entire space”.

The government has pledged to increase total R&D spending to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027, but in recent months it has emphasised that increased funding should lead to more tangible outputs.

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