Pfizer…and innovation emergencies

The news that Pfizer is to close its R&D facility in Sandwich in Kent has shaken us from our sleepy winter hollows. I’ve been watching the reactions and comments come over the wires as I am sure you have.  This is clearly a company going through considerable transition as it tries to change with the […]

Guest Blog: Dame Bridget Ogilvie on the spending review

A change is as good as a rest they say.  So I am delighted that our former Chair (as well as former Director of the Wellcome Trust), Dame Bridget Ogilvie, took up my invitation to give us her perspective on the spending review and its implications.  Its closing sentiments about the development of young scientists […]

CSR and painting by numbers

We are packing up.  No, no, no, not in that sense.  It is just that we are moving office in a few weeks.  I am ashamed to say that I am the last of our team to begin the task of separating the recently aquired detritus from the must-keep documents that tell something of our history.  […]

Public, private and charitable research: the spillover effect

RAND Europe and the Office of Health Economics (OHE) last week published this rather fascinating occasional paper from a seminar in May.  It examines the spillovers (wider benefits) from biomedical and health research and seems highly salient given what is going on.  I thought some of the diagrams were helpful in visualising the multilying effect of […]

Government in danger of misunderstanding charities at their peril

Language is everything in politics. We hang of every word of our politicians for any hint of a change in tone or content that might indicate whether a batlle is lost or won. The same is true of those campaigning for change. Just read my blogs from all three party conferences. It feels in this eleventh […]

Science at the Conservative Party conference – curtain down calls an end to well-rehearsed choreography in the nick of time

After three weeks on the road it is only to be expected that the fringe meetings take on the choreography of a well-rehearsed show. It certainly felt that way with tonight’s  Royal Society fringe. The performances were faultless but there was never any real hope of artistic interpretation. The science minister, David Willetts, sang well from his hymn […]

Science at the Conservative Party Conference – notes from a large fringe

Stumbling half-asleep across my hotel room this morning I overheard a spokesman from the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra on the TV saying that every £1 invested in arts in the city generated a further £29 in economic activity. Or something along those lines. As Orwellian visions filled my mind of a day to come where every […]

Science at the Conservative Party Conference – it ain't over until it's over

‘So we will give priority to spending that supports growth in our economy. That means investment in the transport schemes, the medical research and the communications networks that deliver the greatest economic benefit.’ George Osborne, 4 October 2010 Welcome, good, important? Yes. Victory, game over? Of course not. A noticeable frisson went through the room […]

Science at the Conservative Party Conference – avoiding the herd mentality

I read in the Birmingham local press that about 14,000 people are expected at the Conservative Party Conference.  It certainly seems busier than the preceding two, even on a Sunday evening.  Each conference has its own feel but common to them all is the herd of grey-suited buffalo (including myself I suppose) that migrates from one […]

Science at the Conservative Party Conference

Two down, one to go.  Here’s science related ‘matter’ at the Conservative Party Conference which starts in Birmingham tomorrow. Birmingham University was of course the venue for the Science Minister, David Willett’s, first speech after taking office.  I am looking forward to being one of the hosts when he joins us for a roundtable breakfast […]

Science's reputation will be easily cracked, and will never mend well

Forgive the headline which is a version of Benjamin Franklin’s: ‘Glass, china, and reputation are easily cracked, and never mended well.’  If you haven’t seen today’s Guardian splash on science cuts then you should really take a look.  There is a wealth of detail but the human stories are the most absorbing aspect of the […]

How will cutting science funding affect your university?

Nature blog contains an interesting item today looking at the impact of science funding cuts on different universities assuming that funds are directed away from 2* as opposed to 3* or 4* research – the excellence rating given under the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). But William Cullerne Brown goes into much more detail, looking at […]

Science at the Labour Party Conference – Ed captures hearts but not science

In my potter around the conference exhibition this afternoon, I stumbled upon a stand for the ‘People’s Museum’ here in Manchester which charts the struggles of the working class and houses the Labour Party’s official archives. I wish I had time to pop along if only to check whether my knowledge of political history is […]

Science at Labour Party Conference – Vital Signs

First, a general observation.  Less than one day here and I have met four ‘Eds’ already – more than in the previous ten years travelling the breadth of the UK. Strange that.  But perhaps when you are faced by David Willetts you need as many ‘Eds’ as you can get. I came expecting a muted, […]

Brain drain in science story

You may have heard the news headlines this morning about the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee letter to the Science Minister, David Willetts, expressing fears about a brain drain of scientists from the UK to other countries.   Reasons include people’s growing concern over possible cuts in science funding and what it could mean for […]