Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of reduced Official Development Assistance funding for research and development on (1) the UK’s skills base, and (2) levels of employment, in research and development.
The challenging financial situation we face due to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a temporary reduction in the UK’s aid spending target from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. This means making difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising how we spend aid money to deliver the most impactful outcomes.
The Government recognises the importance of supporting international research partnerships, and supporting the UK research sector. Our commitment to research and innovation has been clearly demonstrated by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget announcement of increasing investment in R&D across government to £14.6bn in 2021/22; and as has been set out in our Integrated Review ambitions, international collaboration is central to a healthy and productive R&D sector.
On 1st April, the Department set out an additional £250m of funding for the R&D sector. As a result, UK scientists will have access to more public funding than ever before. This takes total Government investment in R&D to £14.9 billion in 2021/22 and follows four years of significant growth in R&D funding, including a boost of more than £1.5 billion in 2020/21.
We are currently working with UKRI, and all our Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund Delivery Partners, to manage the financial year 2021/22 ODA allocations. Our Delivery Partners have communicated with award holders setting out the next stage of the review of ODA funding next year, and to explore options for individual programmes. Full details have been published on the UKRI website.