Cash boost for the future

Hewitt announces cash for science, new energy sources and leading edge technologies

Hewitt announces cash for life saving science, new energy sources and leading edge technologies. Trade and Industry Secretary, Patricia Hewitt has unveiled new plans for the DTI's record science budget over the next three years, to keep Britain at the forefront of world science. The plans include funding to develop life saving new health techniques, to seek alternative energy sources, to help our rural economy, to develop the computers of tomorrow and boost business with the next generation of leading edge technologies. The allocation of the science budget to the Research Councils includes funding for a number of key areas of research, and the expansion of on-going programmes, including £60m to expand the basic technology research programme which looks to develop new leading edge technologies that can be adapted to a wide range of scientific and industrial applications. The budget also includes a £30m training package to give PhD students and graduates the business skills vital for them to be able to work with business and turn their best ideas and new technologies into new products and eventually new jobs for British industry. Scientists whose work is funded by the Research Councils will be given training on team working, interpersonal, project management, marketing, staff management, finance and resource management skills. Ms Hewitt said: "Britain is excellent at science and we lead the world in the development of new technologies. This Government is committed to sustained funding as scientific research is vital for our economic prosperity. Today's allocations are excellent news not only for UK science but also for business. "Our investment will produce a new generation of highly trained people whose skills and capabilities are vital not only within universities but also in business. They will generate new knowledge, new technologies and new health treatments." The Science Minister Lord Sainsbury said: "With 1% of the world's population, we fund 4.5% of the world's science, produce 8% of the scientific papers and receive 9% of the citations. This money will help Britain remain at the leading edge of world science. As a result of the spending review, the rate of growth of the Science Budget will accelerate from an average growth of 7% to 10% in real terms. By 2005-06 the science budget will reach just short of £3 billion – more than double the figure in 1997-1998." MF