Letter: Markets and quality 2

November 16, 2001

Your leading article headline says that "to avoid a repeat of history, plan A needs a backup". Which history? The history of destruction of a vibrant university sector in the 1980s and 1990s out of ignorance, prejudice and a failure to understand economics?

The accepted return on investment to UK plc of investment in science and technology is 28 per cent compound. When that is recognised, and it is seen that we are on the linear part of the curve relating investment in education to economic performance, £5 billion is not "truly terrifying" but the amount necessary to secure our economic future.

Governments with even medium-term ambitions can expect to be around to reap the reward of that investment. Or not, as the case may be.

Douglas Kell
Institute of Biological Sciences
University of Wales, Aberystwyth

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