British scientists will head to the US if the next governments cuts funding, according to a group of America’s most respected scientists.
Regardless of who wins the general election, the next government is expected to cut the £3bn science budget in an effort to contain the £178bn national debt.
This would severely hit the UK’s economic competitiveness, and tempt many of the country’s best scientists to the US, which is seeing an increase in science funding, writes the Times.
Peter Agre, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) said: “When we have booms in scientific funding, young people devote their careers to this, and then when we have busts they can’t pay the rent. They’re forced to quit, and when they quit, they quit forever.”
Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health, said British politicians needed to recognise the science’s value to the economy. He said: “Even if you decided you didn’t care about medical advances, the economic argument is very, very compelling.”
The Science for Careers group was formed last year, to tackle recruitment problems in the UK science sector.