As a practising scientist you might expect me to believe that Science is Vital. “He would say that wouldn’t he,” you might say. Objectively speaking though, science research has a large impact on the wealth and success of a country.
Even during these times of austerity, most developed countries are investing in science research, anticipating the benefits that a research led economy has historically provided.
In contrast to this approach the UK coalition government is poised to announce the largest cuts in science funding in a generation. The Royal Society has said that cuts of 25% would represent “Game Over” for science in this country. The government will announce the broad cuts on the 20th October so any action against the impending funding crisis must be swift. The possible outcomes if a full range of cuts go ahead are quite dire.
The Science Is Vital campaign is a grassroots movement which has been guided from its infancy by Dr Jenny Rohn, a cell biologist at UCL. A petition, a rally in Westminster and a lobby of MPs have been organised which it is hoped will be able to alleviate the impending cuts by showing the government how essential scientific research is to the economic welfare of the country.
As a cosmologist, I know that my research has little intrinsic advantage for the UK economy in the short term. The advantage gained is in the number of students who are inspired to study science after wondering about the origins of the universe and the Big Bang. The contribution these students go on to make to the UK economy through science, industry or commerce benefits the country overall.
It is imperative that the tradition of scientific discovery in the UK is protected. I implore you to do what you can to show the government that Science is Vital. Sign the petition, email your MP and if you can be there, join the rally in Westminster on the 9th of October!