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

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 … Continue reading Science at the Conservative Party Conference – avoiding the herd mentality

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

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 … Continue reading How will cutting science funding affect your university?

Coming down to earth – regulators, dementia taxes, collaboration and new generation politics

I think it was Simon Carr in the Independent who said that Ed Milliband opened his arms at the beginning of his speech as if welcoming the assembled earthlings to his world. I certainly feel as though I have come back down to earth today.  An early train back to London from Manchester to a … Continue reading Coming down to earth – regulators, dementia taxes, collaboration and new generation politics

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

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, … Continue reading Science at Labour Party Conference – Vital Signs

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 … Continue reading Brain drain in science story

Science at the Lib Dem party conference – final thoughts

Back in London, a few final thoughts on the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool this week: My first ever Lib Dem conference was in Torquay twenty years ago.  How things change! Busier than I have ever seen it, the party faithful had a different spring in their step even if they seemed a little apprehensive.  … Continue reading Science at the Lib Dem party conference – final thoughts