It comes after the government previously committed to boosting R&D spending to £22billion annually by 2024 to 2025. But today, The Financial Times reported that a three-year delay to this target could be on the cards. Leading UK science figures and institutions have warned how important meeting the Government’s original target is. Speaking at the Sicence and Technology Committee, Sir Adrian Smith, Chier Executive of the Alan Turing Institute and President of the Royal Society, said: “There is going to be a signal sent at the end of the spending review.
“The nature, the tone and the content of that signal is fundamentally important for the science community.
“If we don’t have a clear signal that the funding is going to come in behind the rhetoric and the aspiration, we’re not going to get that leverage of private investment.
“We need a clear sustainable path to the £22billion by 2024. The danger of a negative signal is potentially disastrous.”
Sir Paul Nurse, also President of the Royal Society and Chief Executive and Director of the Francis Crick Institute told the committee that this boost to funding would bring spectacular benefits to British science.
He said: “We’ve been underfunded in science for decades, actually all my life and we bump around at the bottom of the OECD.
“If we had money, we would be absolutely spectacular at science
“We do very very well on a very limited budget and the Government has recognised that.”
In March last year, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans to double the UK’s spending on R&D.
But, according to the Campaign for Science and Engineering, a three-year delay to that target would see the UK lose out on more than £11billion of private R&D investment between now and 2027.
Mr Johnson’s former advisor Dominic Cummings has hit out at the Government for scrapping the pledge, and warned him of turning his back on Leave votes.
He said on Twitter: “Clear from talking to No 10 people [£22billion] is dead.
“PM stealing money previously aimed at R&D for gimmicks, plug holes.
“Tories abandoning Vote Leave plan = terrible for them long-term and a big chance for Labour, but Labour is lost too.”
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“2.4 percent, which is where the Tories are trying to get to, is kind of average and it doesn’t look like we’re going to make.
“If we’re aiming for average and we’re not even going to make that then the Government is not going to meet its commitment of becoming a science superpower.”
Express.co.uk has contacted Downing Street for comment.