Learned Society of Wales responds to the UK Government’s spending review

As the national academy for Wales, we welcome the UK Government’s recognition of the vital importance of research and development. The announcement in the autumn Spending Review of nearly £15 billion of R&D investment will be crucial in helping the UK recover from the current crisis. It is important that such investments benefit research in both STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) and HASS (Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences). All of these disciplines are vital to rebuilding our health, economy and communities.

We support the UK Government’s commitment to ‘levelling up’ between nations and regions. In this respect, as we near the end of the Brexit transition period, we continue to be concerned about the proposed replacement for European Union funds. These funds have made a vital contribution to the higher education and research sector in Wales. The Spending Review provides some additional information on how the new Shared Prosperity Fund will operate, but further clarity is needed about how this fund will achieve the ‘levelling up’ agenda. We encourage the UK Government to use the fund as an opportunity to address long-standing inequalities within the UK, and we look forward to working with them to achieve this goal.