This is an extract from a talk I gave on Monday to the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Newcastle. I tried to answer the following question: The life sciences are seen as fundamental to the nation’s health and to economic growth. But what is the public’s role in making this happen? The … Continue reading The life sciences, the public and the growth agenda…its not just about bums on seats
I see that Cancer Research UK last week put out a press statement about the need for the UK to have strategic vision for medical research. You can find further details on their blog and they also issued a document entitled 'Building the Right Environment for Medical Research.' Thoughtfully the announcement and document have been … Continue reading Cancer Research UK does not have all the answers..and that’s an invitation to the rest of us
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
So understandably the debate goes on whether we should be drinking champagne or lucozade this morning after yesterday's announcement. But I rather liked this sobre assessment by Jenny Rohn, originator of the Science is Vital campaign which has appeared in The Guardian. The New Scientist has also published a detailed analysis penned by Imran Khan … Continue reading CSR and science funding: that morning after feeling
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
UPDATE The full spending review document can be seen here. Note the very explicit reference and commitment to the Medical Research Council (MRC) including expenditure growth in real terms (p52). We have just had a message through from NIHR which repeats the spending review document messages and is heavy on language about pulling through the … Continue reading CSR – AMRC reaction on science settlement
Well, we won't have too long to wait to know whether this is true but the Guardian is reporting this evening that science spending is to be frozen in tomorrow's CSR for a review period, representing a 10% reduction in real terms over that time as inflation reduces the spending power of departments. ...and further … Continue reading CSR press reports: science spending to be 'frozen'
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….!
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
UPDATE: Prateek Buck, a scientist at UCL, has written a first-person account/guest blog of the rally which appeared on GuardianUnlimited a few hours ago. Such a great day. You can here the speeches from the rally at the Guardian online here. And there's a good piece on BBC News Online. Please keep signing the petition … Continue reading Science is Vital Rally in London
A reminder about the 'Science is Vital' rally in London tomorrow afternoon. Details here. And don't forget to sign the petition if you haven't already. It would be great to reach 25,000signatures by the time of the rally. It is currently at around 22,300 which is amazing in itself. See you there.
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
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
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
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
'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
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
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
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?
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