News / Policy

General Election 2015 – Science & the party manifestos

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It’s just under two weeks until the country goes to the ballot box for the General Election 2015 and the science policy community have been busy reading manifestos, collating pledges and grilling politicians. We’ve collected together some useful articles and sources on science and the general election work in today’s blog post. You can also read more about the general election and find useful resources on the Geological Society website.

All the major political parties have now released their manifestos and they are being pored over by the press and political commentators. The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), of which the Geological Society is a member, has produced a briefing document of the pledges in the main party manifestos relating to science policy. The document details the manifesto commitments to science and engineering from the main parties listed as: The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, Conservative Party, Green Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, SNP and UKIP.

CaSE have also put together a list of ‘top ten actions‘ devised for the government to champion STEM and support science and engineering in the next government. These include increasing investment, improving STEM education, and better incorporating science advice into government.

CaSE has collated the manifesto content relating to science and divided the analysis and recommendations into three categories:

  • Investment in science and engineering research

There has been building concern among the scientific community regarding the UK’s level of investment in scinece. When comparing UK science funding as a percentage of GDP to other developed nations, the UK is the lowest of the G8 and the Eurozone. For this reason, investment in science is at the forefront of CaSE’s recommendations.

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Image credit: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, obtained from Scienceogram.org.

 

  • Education and skills for science and engineering

CaSE highlights the need to advance science excellence at the primary level, improve the recognition of STEM apprenticeships and address the funding gap for the costs of science and engineering degrees.

  • Use of science and engineering in government

CaSE is campaigning to improve the availability and use of science advice and knowledge in government: they support the adoption of a Chief Scientific Adviser in each department as well as improved transparency of the science being used to inform policy. One part of this is to ensure that any scientific advice used as evidence is being passed onto the relevant parliamentary committees to improve scrutiny.

Climate and Energy Policy

If you’re interested in what the different parties have to say on Climate and Energy then the Carbon Brief team have put together grid that details what the major parties say regarding pledged climate and energy policy. You can find more information and a link to the document on the Carbon Brief website.

British Science Association

The British Science Association have also put together a series of youtube videos of interviews with science spokespeople from the main political parties. They teamed up with journalist Susan Watts, former science editor of BBC Newsnight, to grill  6 science spokespeople on their priorities for science, how they will make a difference and how their policies will affect you the voters.

You can watch the interview videos on the British Science Association Website.

Further reading

The Guardian view on Britain’s choice 2015: science policy, Editorial

Scienceogram – UK science funding drops below 0.5% of GDP

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