The UK science budget may be cut by some £200 million over two years as ministers try to balance the budget for the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, the Nature News blog reports. The ministers are working to bridge a £1.4 billion budget gap, the Guardian adds.
Internal departmental memos indicate that the cutting science budget so quickly and deeply would lead to the loss of about 700 PhD students and 2,000 full-time science academics or the closure of a large facility, the Guardian reports. The budget has been steady at £4.6 billion since 2010, with no inflationary increases.
The department is also contemplating cutting £350 million from grants to lower-income students, which would affect some 500,000 students.
Brian Cox, the physicist and British TV presenter, calls this move "nonsensical."
"The future of our economy essentially rests on an investment in students … Virtually every [developed] country in the world knows that," Cox tells the Guardian in a separate article.
According to the memos, the budget gap is due to "a failure to police and apply student numbers controls," the Guardian adds.