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The RSB has written to the newly appointed minister for science and investment security, Nusrat Ghani, and secretary of state for education, Kit Malthouse.

As well as highlighting some pressing opportunities and concerns relating to biology and wider STEM education, the Society’s chief executive, Dr Mark Downs CBiol CSci FRSB, emphasised that “there is an urgent need to accelerate biological research and development to help provide solutions to the interrelated emergencies of climate change, biodiversity loss, and chemicals and waste pollution.”

science ministers

The letters detailed how “the role of biological scientists in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated their vital importance to both the health of the population and the growth and competitiveness of the UK economy.”

In addition, the letters outlined the pressing need to engage the research community in the development of evidence-based policy to address the existential threats mentioned above.

Dr Downs urged the ministers to:

  • Ensure that qualifications for the sciences are fit for purpose, equitable and provide parity of esteem between academic, technical and vocational pathways.
  • Champion the Government’s ambition to boost public and private investment in research and development.
  • Commit to ongoing ring-fencing of the funding set out in the Autumn 2021 Budget for association to Horizon Europe, or for alternative programmes if necessary.
  • Enable all young people to benefit from an unbroken chain of experts teaching the science disciplines.

The RSB has requested meetings with the ministers to discuss these issues further.

The full text of the letters to both Nusrat Ghani and Kit Malthouse can be read online.