Chemistry is indispensible to the country's health and wealth

15 October 2010

The Royal Society of Chemistry has launched an unprecedented campaign to gain focus on the sciences ahead of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) announcement next Wednesday.

A huge body of evidence collected by the RSC shows chemistry to be indispensible to the nation's health and wealth. Its economic significance is demonstrably enormous, its contribution to better quality of life is undeniable and its value for tax money is seen as decisively important by the public.

Dr Richard Pike, RSC chief executive, said that "the timing of the new Parliament and CSR announcement makes it important to deliver clear messages on the role of science, and chemistry in particular - it is essential for our future prosperity."

Chemistry is worth 250bn to the UK economy every year, a report commissioned by the RSC and the Engineering and Phyiscal Sciences Research Council found. One of every five pounds in the UK economy is dependent on developments in chemical science research, and the chemical-reliant industries supported six million jobs in 2007.

Should the science research budgets be cut drastically, and the prodigious scientific output of the UK be diminished, the Government will be creating a false economy. Strong investment in the sciences, rather than swingeing cuts, will be key to rebalancing our economy and providing value for taxpayers' money.

Among developed countries our 1.8 percent of GDP government spend on research and development is already low, and cuts in both teaching and research will compromise UK competitiveness.

A summary of these findings was sent to each of the 650 MPs in Parliament, and the report served to strengthen comment by New Scientist editor Roger Highfield, a chemist by training, when he wrote for his own publication and The Daily Telegraph.

An Ipsos MORI poll conducted for the RSC found the public greatly in favour of prioritising university funding for science subjects, given the country's financial situation. Seven out of eight of the subjects gaining the rating "high priority" were science-based subjects.

A steady skill supply chain is essential to carry on the scientific legacy of the UK, and the RSC campaigns strongly to increase the quality and availability of science teaching and examination. English students have fallen to as low as 18th in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings, and UK examining boards are consistently producing sub-standard science examinations.

Audiences ranging from the Government, scientists, teachers, regulating bodies, the media and the general public take notice of the RSC's tireless efforts to ensure this country continues its fine tradition in scientific excellence. To cut science in the UK is to endanger that continuing tradition, the present world-class research conducted here, and the health and wealth of future generations.

Downloadable Files

The Economic Benefits of Chemistry Research summary article
September 2010
PDF iconPDF (2104k)  

MORI Poll - September 2010
Download the full report
Related file iconPDF (1537k)  

RSC submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2010
October 2010 - download the full copy
PDF iconPDF (1268k)  

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Contact and Further Information

Press Office
Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA