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Protect basic research: UK scientists

Budget cuts and emphasis on applied research have sparked concerns among scientists and politicians

Stephen Pincock
Britain's scientific establishment is urging the government to safeguard the future of basic biomedical research, in the wake of budget cuts and a reorganization of the way medical science is funded.In March last year, the government asked venture capital fund manager David Cooksey to suggest ways to combine medical research funding under a single organization, incorporating research done through the National Health Service and the Medical Research Council. His report in December suggested, among other things, that while funding for basic research should be maintained, "future increases in funding should be weighted towards translational and applied research." On Thursday (March 15), the influential House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, which includes politicians from the major political parties, published a broadly positive response to the Cooksey report, but raised some important concerns. "Our committee is adamant that the Cooksey review, which we support in broad principles,...

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