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UK Politicians Call for Funding Boost

Political parties in the UK are courting researchers and the scientifically minded with promises of increased research funding, Nature News reports.

It says that the Conservative Party has pledged to increase research spending to 2.4 percent of the UK's GDP within a decade, while the Labour Party is targeting 3 percent by 2030 and the Liberal Democrats say their a "long-term goal" is to "double innovation and research spending across the economy." Nature News notes that the UK currently spends 1.7 percent of its GDP on research, less than the European average of 2 percent.

University College London's Graeme Reid tells Nature News that these pledges are "a surprise and a delight," and the University of Sheffield's James Wilsdon notes that it has been "13 years since we last heard such an ambitious GDP-linked target for R&D spending from a party of government."

Still, Nature News adds that meeting increased spending goals will take more than one term of Parliament and will require commitment from business. Others add that pegging investment to GDP isn't a good target as many of the funds would be concentrated in a few areas of research, such as pharmaceuticals.

UK elections are scheduled for June.