Thought for the day: would you pay higher taxes to fund medical research?

I noticed with interest that there is a motion before the Church of England synod meeting this week suggesting that it is a Christian duty to donate blood and organs? Quite apart from conjuring up some interesting visions of the collecting plate in our churches this coming weekend, it did get me thinking about how … Continue reading Thought for the day: would you pay higher taxes to fund medical research?

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

‘Best left alone’ is not the motto we want for our health regulators

It being half-term you can never have enough travel games on hand. Current favourites for me are: a) guessing who will be the new Director of the Wellcome Trust and; b) thinking of  a name for the body  created if you merged all the current Research Councils into one. I did apply for the former … Continue reading ‘Best left alone’ is not the motto we want for our health regulators

[The definite article] and why it stands in the way of a definitive plan for UK science

****you might also like to read William Cullerne Bown's analysis of the Science Minister's speech referred to in this blog and which appeared on the same day as that below*** Yesterday the Royal Society posted on its website the full text of Lord Rees' Christmas Lecture to the Science and Policy Research Centre. Its worth a … Continue reading [The definite article] and why it stands in the way of a definitive plan for UK science

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?

Science, charity New Year Honours and some perspective on the MRC in 2011

Research Fortnight have posted a blog I wrote prior to Christmas in which I gave my 'glass half-full' take on what the science budget allocations mean for the Medical Research Council (MRC).  Elsewhere..in today's New Year Honours, congratulations go to Adrian Smith, DG Knowledge and Innovation at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, who has been … Continue reading Science, charity New Year Honours and some perspective on the MRC in 2011

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?

Times Letter on Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF)

A brief but important mention of the letter in today's Times signed by over 100 cancer scientists and doctors.  The letter cites Breast Cancer Campaign (an AMRC member) and highlights the importance of the Government-backed Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF) to the funding of research in universities by medical research charities.  If you want a succinct but well-articulated case for … Continue reading Times Letter on Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF)

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

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 – AMRC reaction on science settlement

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

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