Science campaigners lobby Parliament with Huppert's backing

October 19, 2010 11:34 AM

Huppert and scienceScientists and engineers lobbied Parliament with the support of Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert, to prevent destructive cuts in science funding.

The Campaign for Science and Engineering and Science is Vital took their fight directly to the House of Commons calling on MPs to think again about reducing science spending.

Julian, a former research scientist at Cambridge University's Cavendish Lab and the only scientist in the House of Commons, told campaigners that they had to fight on every issue that would affect science.

Not only would feared spending cuts hinder research work but the government's move to restrict foreign visas for scientists and academics travelling to the UK would have a devastating effect, he told them.

And they must use all the campaign tools they have, getting their message out across the social networking sites.

"The government must accept that the UK's standing as a world leader in scientific research and education is at risk here," Julian said later. "We cannot sit back and let this happen.

"I am totally committed to this campaign to protect the UK's commitment to science. We must impress upon the government that it needs to put together a strategy for continued investment in science to protect our international reputation."

Julian, a former research scientist at Cambridge University's Cavendish Lab, also raised the issue during Treasury Questions in the Commons.

He asked Chancellor George Osborne if he were aware that the Treasury is the only large department that does not have a chief scientific adviser.

"Does that say anything about its interest in and understanding of science and will he appoint a chief scientific adviser?" he said.

Mr Osborne replied: "I have received plenty of advice public and private from the nation's scientists."

Julian has discussed the campaign with Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, Business Secretary, Vince Cable and Universities and Science Minister, David Willets.

MPs have been urged to show their support for continued investment in science by signing an Early Day Motion drafted by Julian.

It asks MPs to acknowledge that research investment fuels economic growth and that the UK's competitors, such as the USA, France and Germany are increasing their investment in science.

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