EPSRC Statement on ‘Science for the Future’ Lobby Day (15th May 2012).
By many measures of quality of science, the UK is second only to the USA and, in terms of productivity, such as citations per pound invested, we are ahead. However, the world is changing: international competition is more intense than ever and, given the investment plans of countries such as China and India, is certain to increase further. In addition, the effects of inflation will reduce the available research funding for the next few years at least.
EPSRC’s strategy is to ensure the UK maintains its global reputation against this challenging backdrop. Scientific excellence – funding the very best ideas – is at the heart of all that we do and remains the number one criterion for peer review in selecting which projects to fund.
But, if we are to continue to excel in areas of strength, we must take a strategic approach in how we invest – so we have the right balance of funding between different research areas, making sure the UK has the right national capability in core disciplines and is addressing major societal and economic challenges.
The approach we have taken is clearly explained in Our portfolio which sets out the rationales behind our decisions and how we went about gathering evidence, engaging with the community, and using expert advice from our strategic advisory teams and others.
EPSRC is committed to ensuring that the UK continues to have an enviable international research reputation, punching above its weight in quality, and maximising the societal and economic benefits of what we invest in.
Remaining focused on realising these ambitions will place the research community in a favourable position to make the best possible case for increased government funding in the future. With a spending review possible in 2013, this is a time for the research community to join forces and work together to explain why science and engineering should be a priority for government spending.
EPSRC Press Office