Global Britain, global solutions

The UK should double the proportion of its international aid budget spent on research and development in order to solve the most pressing global challenges and support the Government’s Industrial Strategy, says Policy Exchange in a new report. In 2015, British aid for R&D amounted to £419 million; over the medium term we should increase this both to help the poorest people in the world and to support the UK’s world leading scientists. Growing drug resistance, increasing demand for clean energy and rising global food demand are among the challenges British science can help tackle.

Yet R&D is relatively neglected by the rest of the international development community, presents high returns compared to other forms of intervention and is a British strength. Policy Exchange worked with the Copenhagen Consensus Center to analyse the benefits of nearly 40 potential R&D projects which will help meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Among the most effective areas where British science could save and improve lives, and where we should invest our R&D money, are affordable asthma treatments, long lasting contraceptives, better irrigation in sub-Saharan Africa and cleaner cooking technologies.

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