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Last week, David Willetts MP, the UK's Minister for Science and Universities, hosted a meeting with senior figures from five of the UK's leading scientific societies, organised by the Society of Biology.

The meeting on Monday 10 June provided an opportunity for the Society of Biology, 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 in advance of the Government announcing its Spending Round on 26 June, which will allocate resources across government departments.

Dr Mark Downs, chief executive of the Society of Biology, says: "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."

Dr Mark Downs of the Society of Biology, Professor Sir Peter Knight of the Institute of Physics, Professor Terry Lyons as President-Designate of the London Mathematical Society, Professor Lesley Yellowlees as President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Sir John Arbuthnott as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh were all in attendance.

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