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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cuts to STP - the never-ending fight

A news article on the BBC news website about the cuts to STP.

It pretty much speaks for itself.

It was the main story in the Science/Nature section until it was bumped by this completely irrelevant story about climate change. Sheesh, just because the US is now making moves to address this highly important topic, we get relegated. Boxing records

Also, a colleague just sent an email to the S3 mailing list with a report from the 21 Jan. 2008 MIST business meeting with Richard Wade. It brings on depression all over again.

The report shows very well how the meeting flowed but obviously cannot contain the emotion and everything that was said. RW seemed to contradict himself a couple of times and now there is a gulf between what he told us about knowledge exchange and what Science board have now suggested. He stated that STFC would not fund science that was considered lower scientific priority but had excellent KE opportunities. Interestingly Science Board have now said that a seperate process should be set up to deal with this issue. Obviously still some disconnects in the upper echelons of STFC.

This is encouraging from science board:
SB agreed that the disquiet within the community following the announcement of the CSR had been increased by the way in which the news had been broken, and by the accompanying perception of a lack of consultation. SB spent some time in discussion as to the best way forward in communicating with the community, so that similar problems could be avoided in the future. SB agreed that publication of timely digests of news from Committee, Board and Council meetings should be resumed as soon as practicable. A range of additional communication possibilities was also discussed, and will be investigated further. SB would welcome suggestions from the community on this issue.

At least they have recognised the problem, even though the chief executive is still running around saying that consultation occurred (or if it didn't it was because of sensitive negotiations - play drive the lorry through the holes in his argument, it's easy). I have even heard it said that the CEO has claimed that any failures in this regard are down to PALS and PPAN who should have set up advisory structures (though I think I remember RW said something about these not working very well under PPARC hence they were scrapped - must check that). He seems very good at saying 'it's your fault', as members of MIST who were at the meeting at Aberystwyth in 2005 will remember - he said it an awful lot.

He even blamed us for the reduction in funding to PPARC relative to other science councils since 1998. It seems that it is not his job to make the case for science funded by his research councils, I wonder if the other council heads think the same way. Perhaps we should ask.

Anyway the results of the programmatic review should be announced late Feb.

Some interesting things appeared on the list of programmes to be reviewed.

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