People at the Science is Vital campaign plan to monitor threats to science in the short term whilst looking towards the General Election to see what they can do to protect science in the UK when the next budget is set.
Interestingly, the campaign looks to have an informal method of campaigning because they believe getting as many working scientists involved is much more powerful. Dr. Rohn calls this the “grassroots” approach.
The campaign is currently working on science careers in the country which started after a meeting with the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, the Minister of State for Universities and Science. This prompted a currently ongoing investigation into the structure of science careers. After over 400 responses in under 24 hours, the opinions of scientists in the UK became obvious. According to Dr. Rohn, “the underlying message is clear: the scientific career structure is not fit for purpose and there is a real case to be made for examining how we can make it fairer and more supportive.”
A cut to science funding has the immediate effect of putting pressure on career prospects, availability of permanent positions and the salary of people in the science industry. In the long term, it can affect the reputation of universities.
Outside universities, there must be confidence in science industries to attract investors. A funding cut can undermine this confidence. Considering 30% of our GDP comes from areas heavily involved in science, protecting science funding is in the country’s best interest.
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