Prospect’s Head of Research, Sue Ferns, said: “Vince Cable’s approach to science funding is wrong-headed and dangerous.
"On the one hand he recognises the value of blue skies research and accepts that some of the UK’s greatest scientific advances stem from research with no obvious commercial application.
“On the other, he proposes to narrow the focus for future funding in ways that will damage the UK’s capacity and credibility.
“Industry doesn’t necessarily need world-class research, but it does need effective research collaborations that are not undermined by politically-driven changes in funding priorities.
“Coalition cuts are already impacting on our ability to deal effectively with emergency situations, such as flooding and animal disease outbreaks, as well as affecting work on key issues such as evaluation of chemical, microbiological and radiological agents that could be used in a terrorist attack.”
Ferns added that while the Business Secretary is right to avoid the ‘salami slicing’ of science budgets, “he should take his lead from countries that have correctly decided that spending more on science now is a good investment for the future.”