Scientists are today expressing relief that the government's deep cuts have left them relatively unscathed. The Chancellor George Osborne said the £4.6bn science budget, administered by the the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, will be maintained over the next four years. He accepted that research will be key to …
diamond is safe! yay!
shame it's outclassed by the facility to which the funding was cut (ESRF).
What about the UKs other big facility, ISIS? £125 million I hear it runs on currently, I also hear of cuts to the operational time, staff numbers and instruments.
A/C because...well... "rumors"
Cut in real terms
Cash maintained but real-terms cut of 10% over four years. Time to get that grant proposal in ...
Wonder how much of that "world class" research will get turned into a successful UK company?
Turning that research into a business that makes money in the UK will require good ideas, backed up by by VC prepared to *invest* in the UK and give them the kind of management that delivers actual working results, not just a string of research funding applications.
However VC's "OK we found a buyer who wants to pay you (or rather us) 10x what we stumped up for you (which which was 1/5 what you asked for in the first place)" attitude suggests the idea of a something *ever* forming that got as big as GEC (or BAe systems) *before* it got sold off by its backers to someone (probably American) is virtually *zero*.
Raise the cash from a bank? It's often forgotten Frank Whittle did *exactly* that and then could not afford the £5 for the patten renewal. He went to a merchant bank. None of the UK high street lenders have the skills or the nerve for that kind of stuff.
The UK remains culturally crippled by the 19th century attitudes of the landed gentry (and to a certain extent the gentleman scientists who came from its ranks) that
a) We should not foul our pristine offerings to the goddess Science for the crude pursuit of mere money.
b) Trade is so *terribly* vulgar.
Those who've known poverty *rarely* tend to think it romantic.
Unless they're from Yorkshire.
Got to go as the whippet needs a walk.
I, for one, would much prefer it if the publicly funded research sector stood up and wailed at Government
"We are intelligent.
We anticipate what you want to do, will do and why you want to do it.
Therefore we will make sure that ALL research will continue even if you cut our public funds.
Because we love research and are prepared to make our own contributions to the nation over and above that required in use of our abilities and skills"
Then I woke up, disappointed.
So the labs are safe, hurrah!
But what about society reduced to chaos in the meantime? It's not good for concentration and inventiveness, having to dodge the looters on the rare forays out of the lab and all that.
Look at the numbers: police budgets cut by 4% each year, no mention of judicial and incarceration budgets --- plus 500.000 civil servants to be fired, and so forth, plus look at the benefits budget... All together this does not add up.
Living in the past
"The decision means major projects such as the Diamond Light Source can go ahead."
Ermmmm, I'm a bit confused. Obviously the big building I see when I visit the Rutherford Appleton Lab is a figment of my imagination and
is wrong where it says "Construction of this new scientific facility began in early 2003 and Diamond became operational on schedule in January 2007." Well it's either that or El Reg is a little confused and talking rubbish, which would never happen
startup costs != running costs
But how about *teaching* the scientists?
This really is good news, and it shows that it's worth fighting for the right cause.
The problem I have is that at the same time university teaching's being royally shafted. The increase in tuition fees is bound to mean less students can afford HE, and this is a potential loss of real talent. I know there will be assistance for low income, but let's face it - even if not on low income, seeing a bill of tens of thousands attached to a degree will put off many who "can afford" it.
A reply or a consideration?
The Tories are not daft. Crafty = yes. Cunning = yes. But daft = No.
So, for example, if they identify high salaries in an overcrowded HE (education not explosives just in case) they tackle the income stream that such staffing requires.
In other words: cutting student numbers in HE manages and maintains HE budget WITHOUT it appearing to be a central government primary initiative.
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