Meetings, money and David Willetts

Science and universities minister David Willetts met senior figures from five of the UK's leading scientific societies in June.

Organised by the Society of Biology, the meeting provided an opportunity for the Society, the Institute of Physics, the London Mathematical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh to stress the importance of investment in science and technology. The meeting came before the Government’s spending announcements later in the month, when the Chancellor maintained the science budget at £4.6 billion, with capital expenditure increased to £1.1 billion in real terms.

Dr Mark Downs, chief executive of the Society said: "Science plays a vital role in our economy and provides advances which benefit society, from innovations in healthcare to improvements in crop performance. The Government increasingly recognises this, and the science minister has consistently put forward the case for science funding.

"However, the freeze in science spending, which amount to cuts in real terms, has damaged the UK science sector, and we are in danger of losing expertise. 

We hope the Government will recognise the vital role of science as it makes future spending decisions."