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Labour’s victory signals a reset for research

With more constructive attention from Westminster, universities can support Starmer’s vision of national renewal

Keir Starmer promised the UK “national renewal” and a “reset” following Labour’s sweeping victory in last week’s general election. When it comes to the value placed on scientific research within government, that reset appears to have already begun, with Patrick Vallance given the role of science minister via a seat in the House of Lords.

The recruitment of the former government chief scientific adviser is one of several early moves by the new prime minister that signal his government will place much greater value on specialist expertise than its predecessor. For all those who had had quite enough of a culture war-driven agenda towards universities, this change of tack has not come a moment too soon. There will be sympathy for former shadow minister Chi Onwurah, who as Research Fortnight went to press was still awaiting news of any alternative ministerial role. But as someone who understands up close not only the value of evidence, but also the challenges in funding the research that produces it, Vallance will help bring a renewed sense of optimism over the willingness within Westminster to engage with the sector’s potential and its difficulties.

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