Blair says science needs public funds and support

July 30, 2002

Brussels, 29 July 2002

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has said science is crucial to building a healthy and prosperous future for the country, and must be given adequate funding and public backing. He added that vital research must be allowed to continue even though some see it as controversial.

Mr Blair, writing in New Scientist magazine, said that although British science can boast the contribution of pioneers such as Newton and Darwin, more money and support are crucial to its future success.

'Science in this country needs strong funding and strong public support, not just the warm glow of history, if it is to continue to be a major national asset,' he writes.

He says the UK government has signalled its commitment to science by upping its allocated budget since it came to power in 1997 - most recently with the latest spending review.

'Our strategy is to expand research funding and put it on the road to sustainability. We want to keep this generation of scientists working in the field and inspire a new generation in our schools,' he writes.

He adds that clear safeguards are important for building public trust in science. 'We must build a system based on clear principles and safeguards, which carefully controls activity but does not stifle vital research simply because some people, no matter how strongly held their beliefs, regard it as controversial,' writes Mr Blair.

For further information, please consult the following web address: http://www.newscientist.com/flat/pages/ 2353_comment.jsp

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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