Since cuts to science funding in the UK were announced in 2010, scientists have been in an uproar. In many researchers’ opinions the funding in the UK was already too low and further cuts were ludicrous. In 2012, scientists are still struggling with limited funding.
Losing Valuable Researchers
The cuts from 2010 prompted many researchers to leave the UK. Many important projects were unfunded before the cuts, so the announcement of the science funding budget dropping by 25 percent made it not worth staying for many prominent scientific figures in the UK.
With Britain as one of the world leaders in scientific research, the need for greater funding is evident. Can a price tag really be put on discovery especially in the fields of health, medicine and improving the environment? Leaders in the UK may claim not to be able to afford greater funding but the truth is it’s the world that can’t afford to lose the benefits of scientific research.
Improving Agricultural Process to Address World Hunger
One area researchers are demanding greater funding for is research in improving agriculture from the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change led by Sir John Beddington, the United Kingdom’s chief scientific adviser. This plea for funding is worldwide to address the issues of hunger and starvation, as well as developing more environmentally friendly agricultural methods.
With almost one billion people undernourished in 2012, scientists insist greater funding is needed to keep up with the globe’s ever-growing population. Sir John Beddington is beckoning the globe to increase the investments, while in the UK, scientific funding seems more and more scarce.
The Numbers Don’t Add Up
In 2007 the public spending on research and development in the UK was miniscule compared to that of other major countries. Public spending on research and development in 2007 was 2.08 percent in France, 2.54 percent in Germany, 2.68 percent in the United States, and highest in Japan at 3.44 percent. UK trailed behind these nations with only 1.8 percent of public spending going to research and development.
Britain accounts for eight percent of the world’s scientific journal articles and 14 percent of the most significant citations. Surprisingly their population only accounts for one percent of the world’s population. Obviously, the UK is an asset to scientific research and development for the world. While funding for other programs like military college scholarships is important, scientific research should not be underestimated.
For every day that funding in the UK does not improve, the world is sacrificing possible discoveries, breakthroughs and inventions. Scientific discovery is essential for growth, and dampening researchers’ abilities affects the medical world, the environment, and even the economy.
That was a guest blog written by Carl Glasmyre, co-founder of SocialWeLove.
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