AS2015: Science remains firmly on agenda

George Osborne reaffirmed his commitment to science as a central plank of his economic policy with funding and detail added to previously announced science projects.

The chancellor said the current £4.7bn science resource funding would be protected in real terms for the rest of the Parliament.

Osborne once again said science was a priority of his Northern Powerhouse programme which “means…backing the science and innovation strengths of the North, so that new ideas can be turned into new products and new jobs”.

He added: “To back science-based and innovative companies in the North the government is providing £250m for small modular reactor development and wider nuclear R&D, creating opportunities for the North’s centres of nuclear excellence in Sheffield City Region, Greater Manchester and Cumbria, as well as the nuclear research base across the UK.”

Work on the £235m Sir Henry Royce Institute in Manchester for advanced materials research will begin next year. Julia King, Professor the Baroness Brown of Cambridge, will chair the new institute.

This builds on £25m of UK funding for a Joint Research & Innovation Centre with China, also to be based in the North West.

Provisional approval was given for £4m to establish an Anti-Microbial Resistance Centre of Excellence in R&D at Alderley Park in Cheshire, owned by Manchester Science Partnerships, subject to a business case.

The new Graphene Engineering & Innovation Centre in Manchester and Cognitive Computing Research Centre, Cheshire, will both be completed before 2018, the chancellor said in his update on Northern Powerhouse projects.

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