In March, the Science is Vital campaign broke the distressing news that UK investment in scientific research had dropped below 0.5 percent of GDP. This is the not only the lowest level of science funding within the G8 group of nations, but it’s also “less than any G8 country has invested in R&D in the last 20 years,” Science is Vital reported.
When it comes to general elections, science policy has a tendency to be relegated to the corner of niche agenda points—and the 2015 UK general election (on May 7!) is sadly no different. Certain core policy issues are related—education, immigration, environment—but little of the debate, especially from the main parties, has centered specifically around science. The BBC’s policy guide for the 2015 general election, which is otherwise quite exhaustive, doesn’t mention science at all. So, if you care about science funding and evidence-based policies, it’s difficult to know which of the parties has the strongest stance.
The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) has identified three target areas for science policy: investment in research, education and training, and evidence-based policy. A CaSE report released in April analyzed the main parties’ policies on these themes. Briefly setting aside the necessary skepticism about whether their election promises will actually be kept, here’s what Ars found when it delved into each party’s level of commitment to science.
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