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R&D advocates must change tactics to sustain support

Cementing political and public backing means facing hard truths, say Ben Bleasdale and Daniel Rathbone

Across British politics, R&D’s stock is high. This was true even before scientific advisors became a staple of televised press briefings and when few knew what an R number was. While the sector is, like others, grappling with the impacts of Covid-19, its political prominence has perhaps never been greater.

Even as financial markets have stumbled, R&D budgets have risen. Research and innovation are on display in speeches, budgets and manifestos—backed by promises to double investment over the coming years.

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