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Government promises new strategy on science and innovation

The Government is to devise a new strategy to boost science and innovation, the Chancellor has announced.06 Dec 2013

In his Autumn Statement (123-page / 4.19MB PDF), George Osborne said the new strategy would be produced in time for next year's Autumn Statement and would include plans for spending on new infrastructure.

"To ensure that UK capabilities remain world leading in the long term, the Government will produce a Science and Innovation Strategy for Autumn Statement 2014," the Autumn Statement released on Thursday said. "Central to this will be a roadmap of how the Government’s long-term commitment on science capital announced at Spending Round 2013 will deliver the research and innovation infrastructure needed to ensure that the UK’s capabilities remain world-leading while playing a key role in economic growth and scientific excellence."

In an effort to "support scientific research and to utilise cutting edge breakthroughs for economic growth", the Chancellor also announced that a network of new 'Quantum Technology Centres' would be developed.

"The Government will provide £270 million over 5 years to fund a programme to support translation of the UK’s world leading quantum research into application and new industries – from quantum computation to secure communication," he said.

Osborne said that the UK "has a world class research base" and that the Government is "investing in innovation from basic science to the commercialisation of research". He pledged £75m a year to an "emerging powers research fund" which would be used to "improve the research and innovation capacity" in countries of increasing influence and potential in the field of science with a view to building "valuable research partnerships for the UK".

Amongst the Chancellor's other announcements on science and innovation in his Autumn Statement was his proposal to build a new centre where "cutting edge academic instrumentation and big data capabilities" will be provided "to support high tech start ups and academic researchers specialising in astronomy and particle physics". The new Higgs Centre, named after British Nobel laureate Peter Higgs, will be located at Edinburgh University.

Separately, the Government has also announced that £15.5m of funds will be made available to its Technology Strategy Board to allocate to help technology companies grow.

"This includes up to £12.5 million in research and development funding competitions to boost digital and computing technologies across the UK," the Cabinet Office, said in a statement.