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Science Minister, Jo Johnson, delivered the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) Annual Lecture at the Royal Institution yesterday evening. Addressing 400 scientists and engineers, the minister reflected on his first eight months in post and his personal pride at Britain’s position as a world leader in science, technology and engineering.

During his speech he announced a new partnership with the Wellcome Trust, to create a £30m 'Inspiring Science Capital Fund'. This fund is designed to support science centres around the country to increase their outreach and public engagement capacity to help inspire young people and families engage with science and technology. In addition the minister confirmed a doubling of the Newton Fund by the end of this parliament. This will take the fund, which is designed to improve science and innovation capacity in developing nations, to £150m a year by 2021.

The minister also took the opportunity to outline his views on the potential impact of a 'Brexit' on UK science. He argued that, whilst British science could continue to thrive either inside or outside the EU, a vote to leave the EU could have a detrimental effect on the STEM sector. In particular, the minister stressed that whilst leaving the EU would not preclude access to funds, it would threaten Great Britain’s ability to influence major funding decisions.

For more information on the potential impact of leaving the EU on British bioscience, read a recent post on our blog or our submission to the House of Lords Select Committee.