In 2010, Michael Brooks renowned Science writer launched ‘The Science Party’. A single issue party with a focus on one goal, "that science, mathematics and engineering have sufficient funding, skills and political priority".
By 2020 Labour should be the home of scientific funding and breakthrough research. You see I’m no scientist but it doesn’t take one to see the causality between properly funded scientific research and Economic growth. That’s why much like John McDonnell’s Economic Advisory Committee, we need a Science Advisory Committee.
In January 2016, President Obama announced a $1Bn moonshot proposal to make America the country that defeats cancer. In comparison 2016 became a year of massive uncertainty for the UK Scientific community, post-Brexit there are massive concerns about where funding will come from for new research. This is troubling as a country despite being widely underfunded, The UK is already at the bottom of the G8 for funding, we massively overachieve! We produce 13.8% of the world's most-cited academic papers.
If Labour can harness a true plan for scientific investment in this country we can see real improvements across Britain. Specialist manufacturing brought back to the UK, improvements in our National Health Service including supporting Junior Doctors to conduct clinical research. A programme for schools to ensure we find key talent from the UK and a proper process that allows us to take the best and the brightest to work here no matter of nationality.
Public investment in R&D is essential to a flourishing economy, it gives clear signals of commitment to potential investors in these shores. That’s why I believe there’s a real opportunity for Labour to lead on this issue, much like how the Economic Advisory Committee has landed on some big names to advise our Shadow Chancellor…but unlike Economics, Science has no ‘political bias it’s just fact.
Imagine a committee including some of our greatest Science heavyweights: Brian Cox, Richard Dawkins, Ben Goldacre, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Dr Robert Winston advising on a real post-Brexit commitment to Science. Perhaps add in a few international names such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, Bill Nye and Brian Greene to name a few.
It’s time we moved on from the doldrums of underfunded Science programmes in the UK, we have been responsible for some of the greatest scientific discoveries our planet has ever witnessed and should be at the forefront again. Never forget you can make decades of gain in as little as five years if proper funding is in place.