A Manifesto for Science

Today, we have published our Manifesto for Science, a subject that has received virtually no coverage in this election campaign. The full text is below:

A MANIFESTO FOR SCIENCE

The Scientific Alliance believes that generating new knowledge and applying it wisely can continue to improve the prosperity and quality of life for all British citizens while protecting and enhancing the environment. This manifesto has been issued to suggest what steps can be taken by a UK Government to enhance the benefits of scientific discovery and application.

Legislation that is proven to work

  • We support legislation developed from evidence-driven policymaking and believe it is vital policies and legislation should be subject to objective independent post-implementation review to ensure optimum effectiveness and avoid damaging unintended consequences.
  • Policymaking is also likely to be improved by encouraging more trained scientists and engineers to stand for election to both the UK Parliament and national legislatures.

Securing Britain’s advantages in Science

  • Research in science and engineering is a major driver of economic growth and the UK currently has a number of internationally-recognised strengths. The next government should maintain and support the country’s current science base and facilitate its further expansion.
  • It should also take a balanced and objective view on emerging technologies such as gene editing and ensure that their potential benefits are realised by providing appropriate support within a science-based regulatory framework.

Energy

  • An affordable and secure energy supply is vital for a prosperous modern society and this is recognised by all major political parties. The nature of the system that delivers this must not, however, be predetermined by political considerations. Scientists and engineers can deliver national objectives but the public should be fully aware of all costs and environmental impacts.
  • Low energy costs are fundamental to a dynamic modern industrial economy and the overall costs of generating and distributing electricity should be a key consideration when developing a strategy.
  • A sensible way forward would be to set up a truly independent body of experts, led by an eminent and respected chair, with a wide-ranging brief to review the cost, security and carbon-intensity of the system as well as energy efficiency measures – such as insulation – and their broader implications. This body should report its findings and recommendations on how best to achieve the desired outcome to Parliament rather than Government.
  • Given concerns about the operation of the electricity market and well-meaning but misguided proposals for price capping, a similar body should be set up to review all options for governance of the electricity system, also making its recommendations to Parliament.
  • Use of indigenous energy supplies should be encouraged wherever economic and technologically justified. We should, however, also be open to the potential of any and all energy sources, including nuclear fission (and, in future, fusion) and storage technologies to contribute to a secure and affordable supply.

Benefitting from Brexit

  • The Scientific Alliance believes it is important that a post-Brexit agricultural support scheme continues to safeguard the rural environment and economy while facilitating global competitiveness and delivering an acceptable level of food security.
  • Brexit gives the UK a unique chance to review clinical research regulations including genomic editing, murine modelling and accessing new medicines pre Phase 3 trials for self-funders. This would strengthen our position at the forefront of life science research.
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