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Friday, January 04, 2008

STFC funding crisis update

It is quite difficult to piece together what is going on with regards to the £80 million shortfall in funding and STFC's atrocious handling of the problem. Partly this is due to the overflow of information mingled with rumour but partly it is due to the massively vague nature of the statements that have come from STFC; there is no clear line of information. Yet another example of why the community has no trust in them.

However there is a website maintained by Paul Crowther at the University of Sheffield that is very useful in summarising what we know and what has happened so far. I highly recommend it as a source of information at this somewhat confusing time.

I particularly like the quote from Lord Rees:
` I hope that there can be a pause while these budgets can be reconsidered and as a result of that I hope very much that we can avoid the worst effects.'


Sadly with the news from RAL that STFC is pushing ahead looking for redundancies and that they have begun trying to negotiate their way out of commitments to international consortia (some that they only signed up to last year!) it would appear that no pause will occur. This of course makes sense if one buys into the hypothesis that some of these cuts serve an agenda from the STFC executive with the shortfall providing ideal cover. Must not hesitate too long in case money is supplied and the feeble excuse for cutting world-leading science without adequate peer review and transparency disappear. Of course I would hate to suggest that this is truly the case.

In other news the online petition at the Number 10 website has passed 10000 names. Hurrah.

[UPDATE]
see related posts:
New Logo for STFC
More Space for Space
Teaching in the UK
Save Astronomy
STFC in Private Eye
AuroraWatch
Petition the Governments
Parliament Probing STFC
Haldane all Done
STFC cuts update
What is Solar terrestrial Physics?
Facilities vs. Science - an historical perspective
A definite 'huh?' moment

Big Science Questions

More on the STFC meeting of doom
The STFC town meeting - delivery strategy
Diamond comments on recent press reports
Update to STFC post
STFC - we decide, you do as you're told
The STFC - Danger to UK Astronomy Physics

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