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    Chancellor gives £200m to science

    NewsEnvironment & Nature NewsWednesday 30 November 2011
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    UK

    Chancellor George Osborne has announced an extra £200m for science in his Autumn Statement.
     
    A large slice of the money (£80m) will fund a new laboratory complex in Surrey run by the Institute for Animal Health.
     
    There is cash also for high-performance computing and for a range of technology demonstrations, including £21m to start an innovative space radar project.
    Science advocates welcomed the news but said it had to be placed in the context of a stagnating research budget.
     
    The emphasis in the chancellor's funding announcement fell primarily on infrastructure.
    The IAH is already expanding its facilities in Pirbright to include a world-class containment laboratory to work on large-animal diseases.
     
    The new allocation will go on next-stage development of a centre to investigate avian diseases, such as bird flu, which can have major economic consequences when they spread through flocks, not to mention the potential health hazards they can sometimes pose to humans in contact with affected animals.
     
    The money will pay for the larger part of the project, with the Biological Sciences Research Council finding the additional £20m-plus from within its own budget.
    Other promises of extra money include:
    • £61m for a range of essential science base infrastructure capital projects
    • £25m for technology demonstrations in areas such as low-carbon vehicles
    • £21m to kick-start an innovative space radar project for Earth observation
    • £13m for the future Archer supercomputing service to model drugs and climate
    The Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: "This new £200m capital investment in science is excellent news for our research base and our economy, and takes the total additional science investment since the budget to almost half a billion.
     
    "It will ensure we maintain our leading position in research, providing cutting-edge new facilities and vital infrastructure. It also underpins important industrial sectors and will unlock private investment in new products and services, driving growth and creating high-tech, highly-skilled jobs."

     

    Source: BBC News - Read more

     

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