Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | January 19, 2010

The impact of spending cuts on science and scientific research

From the Science and Technology Committee of the Parlament:

With concerns growing about the effects of cuts in public spending on science, engineering and technology (SET), the Science and Technology Committee has today announced an inquiry examining the impact of spending cuts on SET and scientific research.

The Committee plans to examine the issues set out below and invites written submissions  from interested parties on any of the issues by noon on Wednesday 27 January:

— the process for deciding where to make cuts in SET spending;

— what evidence there is on the feasibility or effectiveness of estimating the economic impact of research, both from a historical perspective (for QR funding) and looking to the future (for Research Council grants);

— the differential effect of cuts on demand-led and research institutions;

— the implications and effects of the announced STFC budget cuts;

— the scope of the STFC review announced on 16 December and currently underway;

— the operation and definition of the science budget ring-fence, and consideration of whether there should be a similar ring-fence for the Higher Education Funding Council for England research budget and departmental research budgets;

— whether the Government is achieving the objectives it set out in the ‘Science and innovation investment framework 2004-2014: next steps’, including, for example,  making progress on the supply of high quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates to achieve its overall ambitions for UK science and innovation;

— whether the extra student support, which the Government announced on 20 July 2009 for 10,000 higher education places, delivered students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses; and

— the effect of HEFCE cuts on the ‘unit of funding’ for STEM students.

As well as written evidence the inquiry will hold oral evidence sessions in February 2010.

Each submission should:

a) be no more than 3,000 words in length
b) be in Word format (no later than 2003) with as little use of colour or logos as possible
c) have numbered paragraphs
d) include a declaration of interests.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to scitechcom@parliament.uk and marked “Research funding cuts”. An additional paper copy should be sent to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm

Please also note that:

— Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

— Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

— Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

— Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

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