The Department’s primary support for science is through grant in aid to the eight UK research councils. Colleagues will have noted the very good settlement for UK science announced in the Budget yesterday. In 2006, UK research councils funded £17.8 million in research grants to York university. In addition, £35.9 million has been invested jointly with the Department for Education and Skills under the two rounds of the science research investment fund to update and renew university research infrastructure, and £7.8 million has been invested under the higher education innovation fund and its predecessors to facilitate knowledge transfer from science research.
I warmly welcome yesterday’s Budget announcement that funding for science will increase by 25 per cent. by 2010—an additional £1,300 million pounds. My hon. Friend will be aware that Science City York and the other five English science cities have put proposals to the Treasury on promoting science and technology as a driver of economic development. Will those proposals benefit from some of the additional funding for science, and will the Government consider the proposals and respond?
I am sure that there will be a response. I am encouraged by the way in which science cities are flourishing. I had an opportunity at a recent conference, up the road in Newcastle, to meet colleagues from Science City York and others, and I am encouraged by the development and the way in which a range of bodies, such as the learning and skills councils and the regional development agencies—Yorkshire Forward, in my hon. Friend’s case—are coming together to make sure that science cities flourish in the future.