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Society of Biology Comments on Defra R&D Cuts

By Sunny May 20th, 2011 News No Comments

Defra’s updated Evidence Strategy details cuts in the departmental research and development budget over the next four years, in order to meet savings required by the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review. Defra was worst-hit by the CSR, with a budget cut of 30%, compared to the government average of 19%.

The report states that this will be achieved ‘by reducing, in real terms, resource (‘programme’) spending by 29%, capital spending by 34% and the administration budget by 33%’. This means ‘total evidence budgets’, essentially research commissioned by Defra at its laboratory agencies, will decline over the next four years.

The largest R&D cuts fall with Disease Mitigation and Control, at a reduction of 15% in 2011/12; Animal Welfare with a reduction of 11%, and a 20% reduction in ‘Better Regulation’. Aquatic Animal Health, Veterinary Medicine and Anti-Microbial Resistance will also suffer reduced funding. The full list of affected research can be found in the report here.

Society of Biology CEO Dr Mark Downs was interviewed by Research Fortnight about these cuts to the evidence budgets. He stated I understand why they call this an evidence plan but it grates that they never mention the word research. I don’t think we should forget that this means a quite substantial cut in research funding available. Speaking about the cuts to research staff, he added If you lose expertise it’s very difficult to replace it quickly. And if you take the two [measures] together it is quite worrying as the functions that those groups performed have presumably not disappeared.

For access to Research Fortnight, go to:

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