Hammond in £200m boost for scientific research

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The Chancellor is to unveil plans for a £200 million investment in cutting-edge scientific research when he delivers his Spring Statement on Wednesday.

Philip Hammond said the additional funding would help maintain the UK’s “pole position” in technological innovation as the country prepares to leave the EU.

The Government is committed to raising investment in research and development to 2.4% of GDP through its industrial strategy.

Among the projects to benefit from the latest cash injection will be the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, which will receive £81 million for work developing state-of-the-art laser technology.

The research will help understand how particular materials react in different conditions, such as a replacement joint when it is inserted into the human body.

A further £79 million will go to develop a new national “super-computer” in Edinburgh, five times quicker than the UK’s current capabilities.

It will be used across a range of research programmes including medicine, climate science and aerospace, while building on previous British breakthroughs in targeted treatments for arthritis and HIV.

There will be another £45 million for genetic research in Cambridge, providing additional computing and storage capacity.

It will support efforts to sequence one million genomes – a world first – and to explore innovative cell therapies to tackle genetic diseases.

Mr Hammond said: “UK scientific research is worth £36 billion and is at the cutting edge of international innovation and discovery.

“We want to retain pole position as we leave the EU, and the announcements I make next week will ensure we maintain our competitive advantage.

“These investments will support innovators across the country to make the breakthroughs that will push biotechnology, medicine, science and aerospace forward.”

The move comes as the Treasury has sought to play down expectations of major spending announcements in the Spring Statement, which is expected to focus mainly on the latest economic forecasts.

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