Get your boots on

We interrupt Geek Week to wish good luck to those going on the Science is Vital Rally tomorrow. Fraid I have stuff to do, but I will be there in spirit.

That splendid chap Drevan Harris has written an open letter to George Osborne setting out the case. Its very clearly and forcefully written, so if you read nothing else on the subject, read that. The other thing definitely worth a butcher’s is the Scientific Century Report put together by the Royal Society. Chock full of useful facts and figures, and again putting a forceful case, not just for science, but specifically for public spending, especially through the Research Councils.

It contains a figure I copy below, showing public R&D expenditure in real terms from 1970 to 2008. See if you can, without reading the x-axis, locate the period of time occupied by the previous Conservative Government. Not hard.


Public R&D 1970-2008, Royal Society Report, The Scientific Century


3 Responses to Get your boots on

  1. jz says:

    I saw that curve and thought how flat it was, really. But I’m not very up on the science politics of the 80s/90s, except the hearsay. Would it have carried on diving in 97 without Brown?

  2. andyxl says:

    Jz – yes, the ups and downs are 20% not 80%. But remember that over the same period GDP has significantly increased in real terms, so our share of the public purse has gradually eroded.

    If a two hundred plot could be constructed, I think it would show a large and steady increase from very little until flattening off around the 1960s, when reaching around half a percent of GDP. Thats about as much as the nation can stomach spending on science apparently, so like everybody else we are now fighting over the exact size of a roughly fixed piece of cake.

  3. […] governments and their successors. In fact, looking at the following graph (which I nicked from Andy Lawrence’s blog, but which comes from a document produced by the Royal Society) you’ll see the steady […]

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