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Dr Mark Downs CSci FRSB, chief executive of the RSB, has written to the Prime Minister voicing sector concerns following the announcement of £120 million cut to the Global Challenge Research Fund.

The £1.5 billion fund supports “cutting-edge” research and is part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), which aims to “maximise the impact of research and innovation to improve lives and opportunity to the developing world.”

Researchers were informed on 11th March that the ODA budget will be slashed in half for the next financial year commencing in April, with UKRI having to cancel new grant applications at short notice.

Dr Downs writes in his letter to the Prime Minister: “Much of the work enabled by this competitive fund addresses areas where the biosciences make a real and much-needed difference, not least among them biosecurity, global health, anti-microbial resistance, and sustainable development.

“I share the dismay of very many at the potentially truncated projects, ended jobs and dissolved knowledge networks as a result of cuts to the ODA budget.

"It is antithetic to the Government’s stated ambition to build the global standing of UK research and innovation.

“We want to see realistic and supported ambitions that fulfil the potential of the UK bioscience community, and the international networks they have carefully forged over many years.

“Any reduction in the funds available to the research community now could leave a lasting scar on the progress and capacity of UK science.”

If you are affected by the cuts, contact your local MP to highlight these concerns.

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