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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Campaigning for STP

UPDATE

The New Statesman has responded to my request to edit the text from the article to make sure that it reflects reality. The NS have changed the text to read: "Others set up a weblink with the grand title of..."

This certainly removes the most serious claim (i.e. that it was produced by 'senior' people and was some sort of sanctioned campaign). It does not say that it was a joke but I think I have made that clear for all those clicking through.



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This post has been removed.

An offhand JOKE on this blog has been taken seriously by the news media. Consequently it has been removed to prevent that happening again. I know it has given a good laugh to many folks involved in this funding crisis but it has never been meant to represent a real campaign.

I'm not usually in the habit of removing posts, but since this is such an important issue I don't want mistakes by the media (especially honestly made) to undermine our real efforts by accident.

Just to be clear there is no official, STP sanctioned, campaign of the name suggested in a recent media report although STP scientists are fighting hard to save their discipline.

Also this should be abundantly clear but this website was NOT created by a 'group of senior solar physicists'. I am certainly not senior (nor a solar physicist), and the website was created by me. This is a personal blog that has recently been following the funding crisis and the joke that was here was one way of expressing our dissatisfaction.

4 comments:

Ade said...

Put me down for 2 mugs and a XL...

Kav said...

I think you left an 'X' out of your comment... :-)

AstroKath said...

To quote Keith Mason from the BBC website:

‘The “doom and gloom” being spread about the state of UK physics and the funding of research is unhelpful and paints an inaccurate picture, says Keith Mason. The chief executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council claims the likely fallout from its spending settlement has been exaggerated’

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7200456.stm

What world are you living on - still in Holmbury St Mary perhaps?

Look at the redundancies, the high quality research grants that will be rejected, the demoralisation of your own staff in Swindon, and the appalling situation that has been allowed to develop whilst you were our representative, and the decimation that will occur in many areas including STP research - whoops … STFC reprioritisation … pardon my incorrect terminology …

To quote Prof Mason … ‘we are in this situation, so lets just get on with it’. Fine, thanks for those great words of support, just what we wanted to hear from you, a great way to marshal your troops around you.

Does there really remain much confidence within the community that the present Senior Management at STFC are the right people to lead Particle Physics, Nuclear Physics and Astronomy out of the problem. The woeful lack of communication with the community as the crisis developed was dressed up in STFC-speak as being due to the need to act fast, and that it was adequately discussed with Committees. However, this has already been refuted by some members of those same committees (see Paul Crowther’s web page and the Jan 8th Guardian), leaving it difficult to believe anything we are told from STFC now.

Maybe it’s time to stand back from this shambles and to take a fresh look at the future, and also to look inwardly, and outwardly, at who should be brought in to take the community forward. Should the community really seek to change personnel at the top now – should senior Management just be allowed to get on with it? There are arguments for this that they already know something about the system – but there is also so much angry sentiment in the PP, NP and Astronomy communities that enough is enough – and a resignation that we have been left exposed in the present situation by inadequate leadership (however STFC want to dress it up) that did not manage to contain the situation at an early stage in the development of the crisis. Maybe the best way forward now is just to have a clean sweep and regroup. Is this going to happen – well many people are talking about this privately – but everyone is worried that by putting their heads above the parapet, they will be the first to suffer. Perhaps it is time to appeal to the people involved at STFC to do the right thing to allow everyone to move forward

It is clear that a clear that a clean out at the top of STFC is the only real way forward now

slugabed said...

AstroKath, if you want someone to put their head above the parapet, then the STP community have already done that (http://www.mist.ac.uk/mistres.html), calling explicitly for a change in the devious, malicious, incompentant management that we have at the moment. Now we wait for others to "wake up and smell the coffee" (as we were told by the above devious, malicious, incompentant management) and call likewise.