UCL Public Policy


New Opportunities for Science and Research: A Talk by David Willetts

1 May, 2014
Chaired by Professor Graeme Reid

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, spoke at UCL about the recently announced consultation on long-term capital funding for research, and to announce the allocation of science and research funding for 2015/16.  He noted an unprecedented commitment from the Treasury to maintain capital expenditure at £1.1 billion a year until 2021, and an opportunity for the science community to help shape the future of research.

He emphasised two key questions for consultation as the Government considers how to spend £7 billion in capital funding:

  • What balance should we strike between meeting capital requirements at the individual research project and institution level, relative to the need for large-scale investments at national and international levels?
  • What should be the UK’s priorities for large scale capital investment in the national interest?

2015/16 allocations

The Minister announced £4.709bn in science and research funding, and £1.148bn in science capital funding for 2015/16. He noted that the £4.6 billion science ring-fence was being modestly increased, and for the first time included all major research spending by the Research Councils, HEFCE and the learned societies. The total spend was now approximately £5.8 billion, with science capital expenditure now at over £1 billion for only the second time.