More than 100 senior chemists have written to the UK Prime Minister David Cameron to warn of the impact of proposed cuts in scientific research funding. The letter comes in response to the announcement from the UK funding body, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), that synthetic organic chemistry is in line for funding cuts as part of the EPSRC’s “Shaping Capability” initiative. This project is aimed at prioritizing its annual budget of more than £760m of public funds to deal with expected budget cuts of up to 15 % in real terms over the next few years.
The chemists from academia and industry, including senior scientists from Novartis, Bayer and BASF, as well as seven Nobel laureates, united to express concern that critical decisions affecting the distribution of this research funding have been made without consultation with scientists. They also point out that cutting funding for synthetic organic chemistry would injure the UK economy and irreparably damage its global competitiveness, while forcing chemists to look overseas for jobs.
Data from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) shows that chemistry-linked sectors contribute £ 258bn to the UK GDP, directly and indirectly supporting 6 million jobs.
- Chemistry cuts will do ‘irreparable’ damage, top scientists warn
The Guardian, 15 August 2011