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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Investing in the future...

STFC: investing in the future 2010-15

That's the start of the spin that STFC is going to give tomorrow's press conference announcing the results of the prioritisation. Of course STFC has form with spinning bad news and to be fair they are hardly going to say how awful it might be. I say might because we don't know what is going to be announced.

By now the council has met and okayed some plan for STFC to pursue some science and balance the budget it has. We mere mortals have no idea what is going to be announced - maybe it will be good news, maybe it will be bad. Chances are that unless the government has managed to dig extra cash out from behind the sofa cushions the news will be bad. Very bad.

Those who read this blog regularly will know the back history. For those that don't, have a look here, here and for a nice summary here.

The cuts in research support that STFC have already implemented (25% reduction in each grants round) have gone no way to plugging the hole in the budget first highlighted two years ago. It's funny to think how angry I was that December, sat in Norway on an experimental campaign, when I saw the ill-advised STFC strategy delivery plan. It's not funny that this whole farago is still going on and getting worse.

For a discussion of what might might be you can look at Andy Lawrence's blog (new chair of AGP - more fool him), Peter Cole's blog or follow the discussion on Twitter.

To get a real feeling for how the community feels about this, then I suggest reading this blog post. It says what I want to say but says it better.

I hope that when the announcement comes tomorrow the particle physicists, astronomers, nuclear physicists and space scientists all stand together and don't start to squabble, that would only make Keith smile.

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