A 'silver cloud' with a dark lining? – medical research charities in the recession

I suspect you may have seen the bleak forecast made by charity chief executives in the latest National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) survey published today.  97% of those surveyed said they expected economic conditions to be negative and 55% advised that they would be reducing their staff. Tough times indeed.  And so this seems an opportune moment … Continue reading A 'silver cloud' with a dark lining? – medical research charities in the recession

Science budget: where will the money go?

If you are looking for the detail of today's announcement by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on the science budget allocations for the spending review period then please look at the excellent summary by our policy and public affairs manager, Becky Purvis, here. Further perspective from me in due course.  But, given … Continue reading Science budget: where will the money go?

OECD Publishes Science Outlook Report 2010 inc. UK profile

So the OECD - which publishes a series of 'state of...' reports throughout the year - has today (Tuesday 14th December) published its Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2010. If you are a member of the public it looks as if you can only download a summary of the report at the moment.  Overall messages … Continue reading OECD Publishes Science Outlook Report 2010 inc. UK profile

Charity donations stutter to life in recession; medical research remains most popular cause

At our AGM last week, I held a workshop with our newly launched small charities network.  When asked their top concern, they almost all pointed to the difficulties of raising funds in the current climate.  Funds and fundraising are always the top headache for charities but in this sort of economy the difficulties are accentuated. … Continue reading Charity donations stutter to life in recession; medical research remains most popular cause

The not quite white paper on growth

UPDATE: You can find the Growth Review document published jointly by HM Treasury and the Department for Businesss here.  A quick skim through its pages suggests a collection of 'already known' initiatives with a short section at the back announcing a sector-by-sector consultation on barriers to growth.  From what is in the document, it is … Continue reading The not quite white paper on growth

Earl Howe's Speech at the AMRC AGM

 I thought you may be interested in this extract from the Health Minister, Earl Howe's, speech to out AGM on Wednesday: It also gives me pleasure to note [that] AMRC member expenditure on research having exceeded £1 billion for the year for the first time. Given the economic circumstances, I think this is something about which … Continue reading Earl Howe's Speech at the AMRC AGM

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 … Continue reading Guest Blog: Dame Bridget Ogilvie on the spending review

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 … Continue reading The good, the not so good and the uncertain

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.  … Continue reading CSR and painting by numbers

Briefings on the impact on science of a cap non-EU migrants, data protection etc

A quick pass-by to alert you to the fact that we have a new briefing available on the impact on science of the proposed cap on non-EU migrants...and that we have published our response to the Ministry of Justice consultation on the current legislative framework for data protection. On the former I believe that the … Continue reading Briefings on the impact on science of a cap non-EU migrants, data protection etc

Today in The Times: AMRC charities voice concern over changing climate for UK science

Update at 4.30pm:  Both The Guardian and The Times have been running reports this afternoon about an email from the head of Universities UK, Steve Smith, to the heads of higher eductaion institutions which has been leaked to the BBC.  They are reporting that the email warns of a £3bn cut in university teaching budgets … Continue reading Today in The Times: AMRC charities voice concern over changing climate for UK science

Science funding: it's the economy….!

Research Councils UK have published a report this morning written by the economist Romesh Vatilingam which looks at the economic impact of research in the UK.  It states that a £1 billion cut in science funding will costs the UK £10 billion. The British Heart Foundation have put out a news release in response. The … Continue reading Science funding: it's the economy….!

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 … Continue reading Public, private and charitable research: the spillover effect

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 … Continue reading Government in danger of misunderstanding charities at their peril

Ciencia recortes en España

It means 'Science cuts in Spain' and I thought this Nature piece on cuts in the Spanish science budget announced yesterday was an interesting comparator. Roger Highfield has written an excellent piece in today's Daily Telegraph about the prospect of further British Nobel prize winners should the science budget be cut in the UK. As … Continue reading Ciencia recortes en España

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

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

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 … Continue reading Science at the Conservative Party Conference

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