The following letter was published in The Times on 13th October 2021. Read the letter here.

Sir, The prime minister’s commitment to improve productivity, create high value jobs and achieve the net zero target are critical to our future economy and society. Achieving each of these ambitions will rely on the success of UK science. The private sector will be the force of change and innovation. However, for us to do so the government must invest in the ideas, people and institutions that have made the UK one of the leading research nations.

We welcome the aim to become a science superpower but global competition is mounting. Countries around the world recognise that research and innovation capabilities will determine the leading economies of the future. The UK’s investment in R&D as a percentage of GDP is well below the OECD average and 40 per cent less than that of some of our European neighbours. The government’s plan for public research funding to reach £22 billion over the next four years is critical to attract and boost private investment in research and innovation. Public spending on research is an investment in a wealthier, healthier and greener future.

Joe Marshall, chief executive, National Centre for Universities and Business; Sir Ian Davis, former chairman of Rolls-Royce; Dr Paul Gosling, FREng, chief technical officer, Thales UK; John Manzoni, former chief executive, Civil Service; David Meads, chief executive, Cisco UK & Ireland; Thomas Thune Andersen, chairman, Orsted