The new Science Minister, David Willetts MP, gave his first press briefing at the Science Media Centre yesterday. His comments have been reported in a number of places including the BBC. But Mark Henderson’s blog at The Times is the most detailed. The Minister seems to have handled the funding question in the only way he can with the basic message being – ‘I will defend science stoutly but there are tough times ahead.’
His comments on other issues of concern seem to have been well-balanced. He is clearly keen to listen and get more well-informed on the issues at this stage – AMRC wrote to him earlier this week setting out the medical research charity agenda.
As an aside you might want to check out the work of the Science Media Centre (see tag below). They do a huge amount in terms of co-ordinating responses to media stories and interest in science and research, as well as arranging frequent briefings across many different science issues. They are a long-term partner organisation of AMRC and one of the best things that has happened to science in the last decade.
..am posting this bit at a later date but Willetts made an interesting first speech as Minister at Birmingham University today (19th May). He makes positive noises about the dual support system, ensuring a diverse funding base for research and there are reports elsewhere that he was positive about the Academy of Medical Science review of regulation. REF and the impact agenda look ripe for change though.