Life Style

Dramatic reductions in UK foreign aid budget undermine global research partnerships

Dramatic cuts in Britain’s foreign aid budget have balanced the future of hundreds of research projects in developing countries and severely undermined credible partnerships, leading scientists say. ..

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has reduced its international development budget in 2021/22 from £ 245m to £ 125m as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, “£ 120m. The gap remained, “announced on March 11. Between allocation and commitment. “

More than 800 projects will be affected by the reduction, and grants such as those awarded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Newton Fund will be significantly reduced or even terminated.

Nick Talbot, executive director of the Sainsbury Laboratory, said reducing ongoing projects that actually affect developing countries is a “massive breach of trust.” He said he faced a “significant reduction” in GCRF project grants in sub-Saharan Africa.

Talbot, a world-renowned expert in molecular plant pathology, could compromise rice yields, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where disease-resistant varieties are scarce and control strategies are limited. He is leading a project on a disease, rice blast fungus.

Our project investigated the pathogenic population of rice blast fungus and provided information on resistance genes that can protect locally grown rice varieties from infection. We used plant breeding to introduce multiple disease resistances to locally grown varieties preferred by farmers and consumers in sub-Saharan Africa. “

Nick Talbot, Executive Director, Sainsbury Institute

According to Talbot, the British team is working with a partner in Nairobi to contain disease depots and oversee local breeding operations, as well as scientists from Burkina Faso, Burundi, Tanzania and Madagascar. I will.

“This is a very complex project and has trained many African scientists, including PhD students. There are rice varieties that are being tested on-site at 17 sites in Africa, and the next step. So, we plan to register some varieties and release them to farmers. “To achieve this, we need another three to four years of funding, but the reductions we received put many of them at risk. I will expose it. “

Talbot said he is doing everything he can to maintain his partner’s budget in sub-Saharan Africa, but added that the exact amount is still under discussion and such a significant reduction. Admitted that he did not know how to implement. “It’s sad that such a successful project is affected in this way,” he said.

UKRI said in an online briefing that it is working with stakeholders to discuss “the best way to move forward.” “When we participated in these long-term programs, no one could have foreseen the economic impact of an expanding pandemic,” he says.

Scientists have mobilized thousands to sign a petition calling on the British government to cancel the cuts. Enni Barclay, a professor of volcanology at the University of East Anglia, who wrote the letter, said that “this significant reduction in the flow of funds would have a dramatic impact,” and her immediate response was one of “terrible horrors.” He said it was one. “It is unbelievable that this unprecedented action has made us understand what the British government is doing to’Global Britain’. It’s hard to understand how to maintain momentum and credibility as you cancel competitively funded projects or drastically reduce other projects. “

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in the United Kingdom was asked to respond to the petition, saying: “We will work with delivery partners, including the UK Research and Technology Innovation Organization, to implement a new R & D settlement in 2021/22. Our broad commitment to maintaining the UK’s world-class reputation for science, research and innovation. Is part of. “

Thousands of children, with or without participation, are invited to contribute to the study when patients go to the clinic for treatment (also partially funded through the project). Is expected to receive malaria treatment. She is afraid of everything that is currently in danger.

“When a grant is awarded, you’ll never expect a cut to come after the grant is made, which isn’t particularly dramatic,” Lawniczak added. She said Mali’s research partner Abdulai Jimde felt “powerless” about the situation. “If this is a new collaboration and the rug is pulled from underneath like this, why is the partner? [low- and middle-income countries] Want to work with us again? They invested in this project (people, time, resources, power of mind) built on a foundation of trust that the money is there. “

Dramatic reductions in UK foreign aid budget undermine global research partnerships

Source link Dramatic reductions in UK foreign aid budget undermine global research partnerships

Back to top button