Via the BBC’s Jonathan Amos and New Space Watch’s Clark Lindsey comes a report that the British government wants to help fund the development of SABRE engine, which will power Reaction Engine’s Skylon space plane.
The plan was included in a spending document produced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. The document is not specific on how much the British government would invest in the project.
The report does not mention space or the UK Space Agency, but it does provide a good overview of the government’s plans for science and innovation. An excerpt from the document follows.
Science and Innovation
To ensure that the UK has the facilities to develop its world class research base and meet the Government’s ambition of being the best place in the world to conduct scientific research, the Spending Round commits to:
- maintaining resource funding for science in cash terms at £4.6 billion in 2015-16, as well as providing additional resource funding of £185 million for the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to support innovation, including Catapult Centres and the Biomedical Catalyst;
- increasing science capital funding in real terms from £0.6 billion in 2012-13 to £1.1 billion in 2015-16, and in line with inflation to 2016-17. The Government has
- increased capital spending on science over the course of this Parliament by £1.4 billion above the amount committed at Spending Review 2010, enabling significant investment in projects including autonomous robotics, Big Data, and major upgrades and new facilities at HarwellScience and Innovation Campus; and
- providing long-term stability for science infrastructure over the next Parliament, to maximise the potential of the UK’s world-leading scientific excellence. The Government will:
- set an overall science capital budget which grows in line with inflation each year to 2020-21;
- extend the Research Partnership Investment Fund (RPIF) to 2016-17, making available at least £100 million each year of match-funding to leverage private investment in science infrastructure; and
- commit to funding high-priority projects, including the Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) and a new supercomputer for the Met Office.
The Government announced an expansion of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) at Budget 2013. £100 million will be channelled through the scheme in 2013-14. This national programme supports a broad range of innovative companies, especially small businesses, to develop ground-breaking solutions to specific public sector needs. All departments will be expected to expand their use of the scheme.