Chi calls on Government to live up to Obama’s vision for science

In an inspiring address to both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall, President Barack Obama called on the US and the United Kingdom to “redouble our investments” in science and engineering

Commenting on the speech, Chi Onwurah, Shadow Minister for Innovation and Science and MP for Newcastle Central said:

“Just as in his State of the Union address, President Obama again put heavy emphasis on the importance of science, engineering, and innovation.   I hope the Coalition was listening. To maintain our position as a world leader in science and technology, we can’t afford to stand still whilst our competitors increase their investment in research and development. The Business Secretary should rethink his large cuts to science capital budgets. What we need is a long term plan that supports British science.”

UK science investment is falling sharply in real terms while most other countries – including those with sharp deficit reduction programmes of their own – are increasing science investment in real terms: China by 8%, Germany by 7%, France by 1%, Australia by 25% and the USA by 5.7%.

Addressing Parliamentarians in Westminster Hall yesterday, President Obama said:

“We live in a global economy that is largely of our own making. And today, the competition for the best jobs and industries favours countries that are free-thinking and forward-looking; countries with the most creative, innovative, entrepreneurial citizens.

“That gives nations like the United States and the United Kingdom an inherent advantage. From Newton and Darwin to Edison and Einstein; from Alan Turing to Steve Jobs, we have led the world in our commitment to science and cutting-edge research; the discovery of new medicines and technologies.

“We educate our citizens and train our workers in the best colleges and universities on Earth. But to maintain this advantage in a world that’s more competitive than ever, we will have to redouble our investments in science and engineering, and renew our national commitments to educating our workforces.”

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