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U.K.: Where's Our Science Stimulus?

The BBC is reporting that the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills (DIUS), one of the main funders of science in the United Kingdom, is pushing the U.K. Treasury to release £1 billion to boost research funding. That's less than a tenth of the United States's science stimulus package, but that's a still a lot of money in the United Kingdom, which has arguably been hurt even worse than the United States in the world economic crisis. Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently emphasized the U.K. commitment to scientific research, but political opponents and education officials have complained that the message wasn't backed by any new money.

According to the BBC:

[UK] funding bodies have been asked for a "shopping list" of ideas that would strengthen British science and boost the economy quickly. Proposals are likely to include additional funding for high-quality research, new laboratories, more young scientists and ideas that would be of use to industry - such as studies into clean energy technologies. Dius ministers are concerned that if the UK doesn't keep up, researchers will go to the US or to Asian countries - where research funding is also being dramatically increased.

If such a science stimulus package is passed, that could calm protests from some of the U.K. research powerhouses that didn't do as well as hoped in the latest annual funding allocations.