Science must ‘get real’ not build high-altars in this spending review

Science funding is on the verge of getting a right good hammering in the US. From afar it looks like the policy equivalent of the storms and twisters that each year cut a swathe along tornado alley running through the Mid-West. If you were watching on weather radar, this frightening picture would look like a … Continue reading Science must ‘get real’ not build high-altars in this spending review

November: year-zero or zero-sum game in the Government’s approach to growth in the life sciences sector?

On his deathbed in November 1986 Harold Macmillan remarked ruefully on the fact that unemployment was 28% in his old parliamentary seat of Stockton-on-Tees and 29% sixty-three years before, when he was its MP. 'It's a rather sad end to one's life,' he said. There seems to be a similar bleakness to the tone and … Continue reading November: year-zero or zero-sum game in the Government’s approach to growth in the life sciences sector?

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

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

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 … Continue reading Willetts on the science settlement

CSR and science funding: that morning after feeling

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

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 press reports: science spending to be 'frozen'

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'

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

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 … Continue reading Venture capitalists weigh in on science funding debate