Willetts at UUK Spring Conference – white paper, postgraduate education etc

The Science Minister, David Willetts MP, has been speaking today at University UK’s Spring Conference (have UUK actually seen the weather out there?). The full text of his speech is available from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills website but I was very pleased to see this section in it:  ‘There’s another issue too. We are […]

Times Letter on Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF)

A brief but important mention of the letter in today’s Times signed by over 100 cancer scientists and doctors.  The letter cites Breast Cancer Campaign (an AMRC member) and highlights the importance of the Government-backed Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF) to the funding of research in universities by medical research charities.  If you want a succinct but well-articulated case for […]

Willetts on the science settlement

An extract from today’s speech by the Science Minister, David Willetts, at the HEFCE conference in London.  Medical research charities will be pleased with the recognition of their role in delivering research that he mentions several times: The other main news from the Chancellor yesterday concerned funding for science and research. It is good news […]

The good, the not so good and the uncertain

I can only think of turning the last few hours of trying to absorb today’s announcements and figures in the following way: The good Surely even the harshest critic would have to acknowledge that, comparatively speaking, science fared well in today’s spending review.  It was certainly spared the savage cuts that we are seeing elsewhere […]

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 […]

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 – 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

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 […]

Venture capitalists weigh in on science funding debate

I spoke at an interesting event last week organised by OneNucleus, a membership organisation which brings together international life science and healthcare companies.  The audience was packed with representatives of both large and small companies including many biotechs.  It was the day before Vince Cable’s speech and much concern about what he would or would not […]

Cable and Willetts in show of dual support

I did warn you that things would really get going this week….and with two speeches in as many days you can be forgiven if you feel as if you have taken a left hook and then a right hook in quick succession. Science Minister, David Willetts, was on the stump at a Universities UK conference today.  He used […]