To: UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab and chancellor Rishi Sunak

UK researchers decry ‘shameful’ cuts to international support fund

UK researchers decry ‘shameful’ cuts to international support fund

Why is this important?

The scientific research carried out by the researches benefits not only developing parts of the world, but can have commercial applications here in the UK too.

For example : Simon McQueen-Mason, from the University of York, is nearing the end of an ODA-funded project using novel enzymes to reduce industrial waste from sugar mills in India. He fears that all the understanding and knowledge they have gained to date will fail to come to fruition if their funding is pulled at this stage. “It’s devastating because the results so far are really promising,” he says.

McQueen-Mason and his team had high hopes that their work would be able to significantly reduce waste streams from one of India’s major and highly polluting industries, whilst also increasing profitability and creating new jobs. And it won’t just be India that loses out. “The systems we have developed would have been incredibly valuable for the UK with potential for making aviation biofuels, bioplastics, organic acids used in industry and high quality re-cycled textiles,” he says, adding that the industrial partners involved in his project that had invested significant amounts of their own money in the work are livid. “At least one of the companies I work with has already written to Innovate UK to ask for their money back,” says McQueen-Mason.