Science budget 2003-06: the key elements

December 13, 2002

University research sustainability

A dedicated capital funding stream worth £500 million a year from 2004-05 has been created to tackle the effects of under-investment in research infrastructure. The second science research investment fund (SRIF2) will be backed by £300 million from the science budget and £200 million for England from the Department for Education and Skills. More may come from the devolved administrations.

Universities will have to raise 10 per cent of the cost of each project covered by the fund, a smaller proportion than previous schemes demanded.

The research councils will be given an extra £120 million a year from 2005-06 to make a larger contribution than at present to the full economic cost of research in universities.

Knowledge transfer

The government will consolidate the Higher Education Innovation Fund as a permanent third stream of university funding, with investment rising to £90 million a year by 2005-06. This will support technology transfer, entrepreneurship training and seed funding for commercial ventures. A single bidding round to cover 2004-06 will allocate £170 million to universities.

People in the science and engineering base

The key recommendations of Sir Gareth Roberts's review of the supply of scientists and engineers will be implemented.

PhD stipends will rise to £9,000 in 2003-04, £10,500 in 2004-05 and £12,000 in 2005-06. Funds will be provided to allow stipends of more than £13,000 in 2005-06 in subjects with particular recruitment difficulties.

The average research council postdoctoral salary will increase by about £4,000 by 2005-06. Training opportunities will be improved with £13 million of funding.

Extra funding for key areas of research

  • Stem cells , £40 million - a concerted programme of multidisciplinary research to tease out the therapeutic potential of an exciting new field
  • Genomics and proteomics , £136 million - building on an existing multi-council programme to develop new drugs and diagnostic techniques
  • Brain science , £15 million - a programme designed to take advantage of recent advances in technology in neurobiology
  • Rural economy , £20 million - looking at the impact of the changing role of the countryside, from tourism to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy
  • Sustainable energy sources , £28 million - developing pollution-free energy solutions with a new UK energy research centre linked to an energy research network
  • E-science , £115 million - expanding research into the next generation of computing technology needed to manage huge quantities of data
  • Basic technology , £60 million - continuing programme to develop new technologies for a range of scientific and industrial applications
  • Infectious diseases of animals , £10 million - researching the fundamental biology of the interactions of infectious organisms with their hosts
  • New computational architectures , £10 million - developing the UK's strength in work on emergent, adaptive and hybrid computer systems
  • Gravity and planetary exploration , £9 million - to support work on the next generation of large-scale gravitational wave detectors and the Aurora programme to study the planets
  • National Methods Coordinating Centre , £3 million - establishing a centre to develop the techniques and skills of the UK's social scientists
  • Science in society programme , £3 million - additional funding to implement the recommendations of the science in society study.


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