RSE response to recent Government Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding cuts

The RSE is very disappointed in the UK Government’s decision to implement unprecedented and immediate ODA funding cuts with serious implications for research and development, as highlighted by the UKRI’s recent response. We add our voice to sister UK National Academies and academic colleagues both in the UK and worldwide in calling for a full and immediate reversal of the cuts.

The reasons for our concerns are twofold. Firstly, the impact of the cuts will be significant on ongoing international research carried out with Low- and Middle-income Countries (LMICs) that is needed to address issues of global concern. Secondly, the impact on work in and with LMICs themselves could set back progress on international development issues by decades, enhancing further inequalities between the Global North and Global South.

The decision to drastically cut funding will impede international progress in key science areas such as climate change, health, wellbeing, food/agriculture, engineering etc. on which many of our RSE Fellows, Corresponding Fellows and Young Academy of Scotland members lead (such as work addressing violence against women and girls across LMICs and COVID-19 research collaboration). These decisions will also seriously undermine our reputation as a trusted international partner.

The RSE, as Scotland’s National Academy comprising 1600 Fellows, many of whom see their international work as essential to ongoing future learning and scientific progress worldwide, strongly recommends a reversal of this decision due to its far-reaching and deleterious consequences for tens of thousands of the world’s citizens.