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Monday, March 03, 2008

STFC responds to RAS

I see that STFC has responded to the RAS statement*.

If I were the RAS I would be less than happy with this; careful reading reinforces the feeling that they are in 'no crisis here' mode.

They express their happiness with their peer review process (though difficult in these times). Really. Well, there you go, then. Says it all really.

They do say that they will try to communicate better. Again, careful reading highlights that this is so that the RAS (and others) can understand STFC's plans and decisions. This implies that the current problem is that the RAS has failed to understand.

This sounds like STFC saying that it is not their fault, it is our fault. Why does this not surprise me?

There is plenty more to take issue with. All in all though, no real addressing of the criticisms levelled by the RAS and no mea-culpa. No real responsibility taken in fact. Of course I read it with a jaded eye...

The big bun fight starts this afternoon. Am I alone in feeling that this consultation AFTER the programmatic review is somewhat like putting the cart before the horse? I guess some input is welcome but since STFC have never understood STP and how it works we are still royally screwed. Of course now it could well descend into astronomer vs. astronomer as we all fight over the scraps. I bet some people will be enjoying that spectacle, a grand united community was never a good thing for them.

In other news, STFC have published the minutes from their council meetings (see links at Paul Crowther's web page). Two things jump out at me:

1) Something very secret is happening at Chilbolton!
2) Diamond got talked about A LOT. Of course the minutes cannot describe how long they dwelt on a subject, but still...

Speaking of Diamond, an interesting comment at the e-astonomer.

*Note that STFC (and DIUS) never responded to the MIST statement. Of course we don't have a charter or anything yet and our resolutions were hardly 'constructive' as STFC would view them. Though quite frankly I would suggest that a clean out of the people at the top of STFC would be the most constructive thing we could do. Claims that this would be catastrophic have yet to be backed up with more than gut-feeling. 'Better the devil you know' is not a good rule to live by. I said it during the 2004 US election and I'll say it with regard to STFC management.

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