More money for science

UK Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt today unveiled new plans for the DTI science budget over the next three years that she said would ‘keep Britain at the forefront’ of world science.

UK Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt today unveiled new plans for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) science budget over the next three years that she said would ‘keep Britain at the forefront’ of world science.

The plans include funding to develop new health techniques, to seek alternative energy sources, to help the UK’s rural economy, to develop the computers of tomorrow and boost business with ‘the next generation of leading edge technologies’.

In the health sector, £40m will be invested into research into stem cells, £136m will be used to build on the UK genomics and proteomics research programme, while £15m will be targeted at finding treatments for a wide range of mental health problems and neurodegenerative diseases.

As far as energy is concerned, £28m will be used for research into sustainable energy – to develop pollution free energy solutions, examine the environmental implications and calculate the economic costs of such solutions.

On the rural front, £20m will go towards research to look at the impact of the ‘changing role of the countryside on the rural economy’, including the impact of animal diseases, tourism, use of non-food crops and ‘possible reform to the Common Agriculture Policy’.

£115m is bookmarked for the UK’s ‘e-science’ programme, which will continue research into the next generation of computing technology necessary to manage the huge quantities of data produced by scientific experimentation and for the development of a computing ‘Grid’.

£60m will be used to look at new leading edge technologies that can be adapted to a range of scientific and industrial applications – vision machines that mimic the human eye and new imaging techniques that can find buried object or tumours in the body.

The allocation of budgets was set out today in ‘Science Budget2003-04 to 2005-06’. It is on the DTI website at: http://www.ost.gov.uk/research/funding

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