LONDON 20 July (Science Analysed) According to the UK Treasury's Public Spending Review for the years 2001–2, 2002–3, and 2003–4, published on Tuesday 18 July, "the combined DTI and DfEE spending on science research will increase at a real average annual rate of 5.4% over the next three years."

The DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) supports the councils that pay research grants, such as the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), plus various public/private research initiatives; and the DfEE (Department for Education and Employment) funds the basic English and Welsh university budgets, including infrastructure and salaries. Scottish and Northern Irish universities are funded regionally.

But what does this 5.4% figure (17% over the three years) mean?The trouble is that the British Government announcements have been so over-marketed and 'spun' in the recent past that most Britons have become jaded and...

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