To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment has been made by his Department of the possible effect on international competitiveness in (a) biosciences, (b) engineering sciences and (c) medical research of the 2007-08 reduction in funding to the UK Research Councils; and if he will make a statement.
In order to help to manage the significant pressures on the Department's budget in 2007-08, a decision has been made to use some of the accumulated unspent funds within the science budget. This decision will not affect research projects which are already being funded.
The UK has a strong track record in research excellence, and benefits from a consistently good performance across disciplines. On the basis of an independent report, it is currently ranked second in the world in biosciences and health-related sciences, and fourth in engineering. The report is available on the DTI website at: