Science in government
Departmental science and research
Each year, government departments invest around £3.9 billion on research and development to support their work (£2.3 billion spend by civil departments and £1.6 billion by defence). The breadth of issues is extensive: from facing environmental challenges through improving health and wellbeing to preventing and reducing crime.
The impact of this research can vary from small, incremental increases in knowledge that improve and test our understanding of some of the most difficult questions and societal challenges faced by the UK and beyond (such as understanding the impacts of bio-fuels policies with regard to food supply), through to major breakthroughs that bring about fundamental, long-lasting and positive change.
At the same time, the public sector can drive innovation in the wider economy in a number of ways: through spending on scientific research, through procuring innovative solutions and innovating in the way it makes and delivers its work.