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U.K. Life Sciences Get Big Boost

Life sciences are the big winner as the British government announced this week how it would divvy up a $1.1 billion boost for science over the next 3 years.

The 15% hike in science spending was announced in July without details of how it would be distributed among the six main research councils. The new information shows the Medical Research Council's (MRC's) budget rising the fastest, by 6.8% after inflation. Hikes of slightly more than 3% go to engineering and the physical sciences, environmental research, and biotechnology and biology. Although particle physics and astronomy can expect just a 0.5% boost, officials say it's enough to preserve their place in various international projects. The government and the Wellcome Trust also will contribute equally to a $950 million pot to improve university laboratories.

George Radda, head of the MRC, says he is "enormously pleased" by the boost, adding: "It recognizes that research is a long-term business."