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Question by Brian Clark to Mark Dance, Cabinet Member for Economic Development

July 17, 2016 12:19 PM

"Given that the all-party Lords Science and Technology committee raised concern in April that the substantial EU research funds, currently available to the UK, would not likely be covered by future governments if Britain left the European Union, can the Cabinet Member for Economic Development explain the steps he will be taking to ensure that the expanding scientific sector in Kent does not suffer long term impact as a consequence of the recent referendum result?"

Answer

I have read this report. I quote from the report's summary:

'While the UK science community was enthusiastic about EU membership, we have uncovered some qualifications. We heard mixed reviews on the impact of EU regulations.'

The report also said 'many assertions to this enquiry about the UK's success in winning EU research funding conflated performance in securing Framework Programme funds (the last being FP7) with the overall level of EU funding for R&D in the UK. The UK strong science base makes the UK one of the top performing nations in the EU where scientific excellence determines success in funding competitions. But that is only part of the picture. When the total level of R&D funding is considered, the use of Structural Funds for R&D in less prosperous parts of the EU shifts the distribution away from the UK, moving this country down the funding league table.'

But Mr Clark makes an important point and I shall be writing to the Science Minister when a new Cabinet is formed by the new Prime Minister to highlight Kent's success in having a strong Bio-Science industry and the four Kent Universities which make an important contribution to the UK's world leadership in research.