Editor's comment | A bolt from the blue
8 May 2015
With a hugely surprising Tory majority now confirmed, investment in UK science could be the real winner of the general election.
Though the results from yesterday’s general election may frustrate some, the vast majority of the UK science community has to be happy with the outcome.
If the Conservative Party comes good on its manifesto promises, the UK’s research infrastructure looks set to receive at least £6.9 billion of new capital over the next six years.
The Tory’s said that will mean “new equipment, new laboratories and new research institutes” - including investment in the Alan Turing Institute, a national institute for data sciences, as well as funding for major science and engineering projects such as the Energy Research Accelerator based in the Midlands.
UK life science looks set to be a big winner too.
The Conservative manifesto outlines the success of the previous government’s life science strategy, while essentially suggesting it will continue to promote life science and “ring-fence the science budget”.
The UK science community can therefore expect an increase in the creation of ’Catapult Centres’ - centres that boost innovation in areas such as energy, technology and scientific research.
It would be unfair, however, to suggest that none of the other political parties pledged to protect, or increase science expenditure.
Like the Conservatives, the Lib Dems used its manifesto to back the development of more catapult centres, and said it would double innovation spend over the next parliamentary term.
The Labour Party made a similar pledge in its manifesto, suggesting it would introduce a long-term funding policy framework for “science and innovation” - a framework that will provide the “stability and continuity” UK companies and research institutions need to succeed.
But Labour didn’t win the general election, and nor did the Lib Dems.
The Conservative Party won - and surprising though results may have been, I think the UK science community can rest easy knowing it won’t lose anything it has worked so hard to achieve.