The Government’s investment in science will rise from £3.9 billion to £5 billion in 2008. At the same time, a matching increase of £1.5 billion was announced by the Wellcome Trust that will add a further boost to the UK science base.
“The pharmaceutical industry is one that depends on innovative scientists to develop the medicines for which Britain is justly famed,” said Dr Philip Wright, ABPI Director of Science and Technology. “The extra money promised by the Government will go a long way to enabling the UK to retain its world-leading position in the field of science and pharmaceuticals.”
The spending review also earmarked more money for science teachers. While extra funding in this area is essential - and thus welcomed by the ABPI – the association emphasised that the focus must be on chemistry and physics teachers.
“Details have not yet been published on how this extra money will be allocated, but the industry is very concerned that the numbers of chemistry teachers in particular should be higher and that they should have appropriate science degrees. Too often, this is not the case at the moment,” said Dr Wright.
Encouragement for university-business funding links, also announced in the review, is welcome. However, it is important that any changes do not upset the current close relationship that the pharmaceutical industry already enjoys with academia, the ABPI said.
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