The UK is getting a science-funding boost. George Osborne, the UK finance minister, announced an investment of £600 million ($963 million) to go toward the infrastructure funds of the various research councils as well as toward facilities for applied research and development, the Nature News blog reports. It adds that many of the details of the announcement are as yet unknown, but that "it will support some of the key areas, such as synthetic biology, advanced materials, big data, energy storage, and regenerative medicine."
Mark Walport, the director of the Wellcome Trust, tells Reuters that Osborne is "right to recognize that investment in world-class science and the world-class infrastructure it requires must be integral to any strategy for driving growth, even in times of austerity."
ScienceInsider notes that while researchers mostly support the increase in funding, some say this increase "is simply making up for earlier cuts made by the current government."
Indeed, the Nature News blog adds that the UK science budget is still down. "The government's business, innovation and skills department says that the total science budget (grants + capital) in the years from 2011-12 to 2014-15, remains about £195 million short of a 'flat cash' settlement compared to 2010-11," the blog notes.