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RAS / IoP response to restructuring of the Science and Technology Facilities Council

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 March 2010 12:36
Published on Tuesday, 23 March 2010 12:34
The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and the Institute of Physics (IOP) have responded to the statement by Lord Drayson, Minister of Science and Innovation, setting out reforms to the structure of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
Response to restructuring of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (RAS PN 10/11)
Institute of Physics and Royal Astronomical Society press statement
Ref: RAS PN 10/11
Thursday 4th March 2010
For immediate release

Response to restructuring of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (RAS PN 10/11)

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and the Institute of Physics (IOP) have today, Thursday 4 March, responded to the statement by Lord Drayson, Minister of Science and Innovation, setting out reforms to the structure of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, President of the IOP, and Professor Andrew Fabian, President of the RAS, said: “We thank Lord Drayson for initiating this review to resolve the structural problems caused by the three disparate strands of science that STFC funds.

‘We have been particularly concerned about the way in which unforeseeable rises in international subscriptions due to the falling value of the pound have put extreme pressure on the funding available from STFC both for research grants and the running of UK-based facilities.  Today’s announcement demonstrates that the problem has now been recognised and we look forward to seeing how it will be addressed.   IOP and RAS trust that the Treasury will recognise the importance of science by taking responsibility for currency fluctuations.

‘The longer-term commitment to planning for our superb national facilities is really welcomed. Only through sustained investment and planning can researchers using national facilities like the Diamond Light Source, the Central Laser Facility and ISIS maximise the return on the investment which the UK has already made.

‘We are encouraged that Lord Drayson agrees that the grants should remain with STFC since this will also maximise the return on the UK’s investment in the overseas telescopes and accelerators used by the researchers in those fields, as the grants and international facilities can be managed most effectively together. 

‘We now look forward to working with Professor Sterling in helping to ensure that STFC is able to deliver the very best science programme.
 
‘Looking at the science base as a whole, we remain concerned about the overall impact on science funding as the pressure on the public purse becomes increasingly acute.  We urge that the government continues to recognise the value of investment in the science base and funds it accordingly.”


CONTACTS

Joe Winters
Senior Press Officer
Institute of Physics
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7470 4815
Mob: +44 (0)7946 321473
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Robert Massey
Press and Policy Officer
Royal Astronomical Society
Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 3307
Mob: +44 (0)794 124 8035
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NOTES FOR EDITORS

The Institute of Physics

The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of more than 36 000 and is a leading communicator of physics-related science to all audiences, from specialists through to government and the general public. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics. Go to www.iop.org

The Royal Astronomical Society

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 3000 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others. See www.ras.org.uk