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More money for the ‘David Beckhams’ of science


The Department for Trade and Industry has announced that extra money will be made available in an attempt to reverse the 'brain drain' of senior university science researchers abroad.

£4 million a year for the next four years will be put up by the Department for Trade and Industry and the Wolfson Foundation charity to help top up the salaries of 50 top academics, who could see their salaries rise up to £100,000 a year. Sir Bob May, chief scientific adviser to the government, referred to this as "an attempt to be more competitive and recruit the David Beckhams of science".

Director of SBS said the government had made 'a small start' towards paying researchers better, but a DfEE spokesperson emphasised the fact that £50 million had already been committed to help recruit and maintain standards.

Also announced in the government's Science and Innovation White Paper was a Higher Education Innovation Fund worth £140 million, which will be aimed at helping to create better links between universities and the world of commerce.

Also among the key proposals is the introduction of a Small Business Research Initiative to encourage more high-tech small firms to start up or develop new research capacity.

Speaking at the publication of the paper, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Stephen Byers said "Universities have a new mission to play an active role in the economy developing people with the right skills for the job for the future and encouraging commercial applications for research. We are giving them the backing they need to fulfill that role. "Stronger links between universities and business are an important element of this. "The successful economies of the future will be those which excel at generating and disseminating knowledge and exploiting it


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